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MUSLIMGAUZE - Chasing the Shadow of Bryn Jones 1983-1988 (A Putrid Oasis)

Format: BOOK & CD
Label & Cat.Number: Vinyl-On-Demand VOD121*
Release Year: 2014
Note: the 208p. book (from the VOD-Box) written by IBRAHIM KHIDER about the man behind MUSLIMGAUZE who died 1999 , luxus edition with silver embossed hardcover => a very detailed look into the life of the mysterious BRYN JONES who died in 1999, with many interviews & infos from people who knew him well, plus hundreds of photos, cover-pics, concert posters, letters, personal notes, etc.. comes with compilation CD selected by CHARLES POWNE (SOLEILMOON REC.)
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €50.00


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208 PAGE A4-SIZED BOOK ABOUT THE LIFE OF BRYN JONES. WRITTEN BY IBRAHIM KHIDER AND DESIGNED BY ERIC KESSEL / SIMON CRAB
(BOOK WITH CD CAN ALSO BE OBTAINED SEPERATELY IN A LMTD 400 EDITION)

www.vinyl-on-demand.com



"As off writing this, I am still working on a book about my time I was working for a record company called Staalplaat. Somewhere in that book I write about what the book it not will contain: "as you want a great story, about sex, drugs, deprivation, but all of that is hard to find with many of the Staalplaat artists". My favourite book about musicians is 'The Dirt', which is all about big-hair rockers Motley Crue. I downloaded one record which people considered their best - was it 'Dr. Feelgood'? - but I didn't get it at all. The book, all about sex, drugs, deprivation, however is a great read. I am still waiting for the movie. I also write in my book on Staalplaat: "As Im writing this, the long promised book on Muslimgauze is yet to appear. I never know why anybody would want to write a book on Bryn Jones, as whatever can be in it, it would not extend a few pages. Ill proof that." I won't re-write those lines, but add a note and this review as an appendix. Obviously I exaggerate
when I say you couldn't possibly write a book on Muslimgauze, Ibrahim Khider proofs you can. I can't say I was anticipating any book more than this one in the last few years. Partly because I was interviewed for it, partly because of my work at Staalplaat that is also part of the life of Muslimgauze and partly because I like to read books on music. Muslimgauze was the brainchild of Bryn Jones, who started in the early 80s as E.G. Oblique Graph (a nod, we learn to E.G. Records - a.o. King Crimson's label - and Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies and Oblique Records), an experimental outfit for electronics and tapes. Not very long lived, as Jones changed to Muslimgauze moniker a little later on when he found a political banner for it. He started to support the freedom struggle of Palestinians against occupation by the Israelis. Over the years he switched his support from PLO to Hamas, but he never visited the region and got his knowledge from going to the library and reading books on the subject. Meanwhile he produced a vast amount of music. First released by himself, then Recloose, Bourbonese Qualk's label, then Extreme in Australia, ultimately leading to Soleilmoon and Staalplaat, who could cater his need for an endless stream of releases, rather than Extreme's more guided policy of a few releases every now and then. For someone who lived at home with his (smoking) parents, retreated upstairs to do his music, only to come down to eat and watch football (we are talking about a UK musician, so football is part and parcel of his life) and then continue to do music. Sometimes he would go to a studio and work with an engineer. Following one failed gig in 1986, in The Netherlands (and one I attended actually), he picked up gigging again in the second half of the 90s, playing hand drums on stage with a backing disc. Mainly in the UK, but also for Dutch radio, Berlin, France, Sweden, Spain and two concerts in Japan. Late 1998 he got ill and died on January 14th 1999 of a rare blood disease. That, in a nutshell/encyclopaedia style would be the history of Muslimgauze, but there is more to tell. Khider has three parts in his book. The main part is the life story of Bryn Jones, followed by a chapter where he travels to people who knew him, and a small guide in which he discusses various recordings, and groups them together. That last guide is of particular interest, I'd say, for those who find this book tempting to find out more about the historical releases, and perhaps the true fans find this bit superfluous and/or disagree with it. The story in which Khider tells us about his travel to the UK, Vienna and Egypt to meet some people who he interviews, and paints some of the colour locale is for me the least bit, as it seems to repeat some that we also read about in the long, and most important part of the book. In a rather dry, reporting style, Khider tells us the story of the life of Bryn Jones and sometimes also about what happens in the Middle-East, events that inspired Jones, such as 'Hebron Massacre' or PLO singing a peace treaty with Israel, prompting 'Betrayal' as a response (and withdrawal of 'Shekel Of Israeli Occupation', as that was dedicated to the PLO). We learn to know Jones as a socially not very fit person, almost an autistic, who always talked about 'we' when he was referring to the solo effort that Muslimgauze was. Maybe that was a defense line? I am not a psychologist at all, but it seems so. In Jones' life there was only once constant factor: his own music. He never talked about something else, and didn't seem to like any other music. When he got a release from a musician who admired his work, he would quickly remix it and send back the 'improved' version - his own words. People he met on his excursions, who actually met him eye to eye, aren't always very positive about him (Simon Crab of Bourbonese Qualk, Andrew Hulme of O Yuki Conjugate) or find him very closed, not prepared to discuss his political views, or sometimes choose to ignore those discussions. Which always brings up the issue: to what extend did he mean what he preached? Was it genuine or was it all a clever wind-up? Me personally am more inclined to believe the latter, even when I can't substantiate it - save perhaps for a radio interview he did for Dutch national radio, where, when questioned, he said, he 'picked' the Middle East, but it could have been South Africa, ETA or IRA also. But that interview was quite awkward on all involved. The interviewer felt Jones was arrogant, and didn't see the socially insecure person on the other end of the microphone. It seems as if Jones was always complaining about the fact that 'nobody ever bought a release from him' and that the interest in diminishing (same radio interview, but something he repeats to other's too), but here too I couldn't say if he seriously meant that or if it was another wind-up. Of course Jones had some great admirers, such as Geert-Jan Hobijn from Staalplaat, who calls himself a friend, prepared to tell the truth to Jones when need be, and Charles Powne from Soleilmoon. One of the most interesting bits in the book was when John Delf tells us about how Jones worked in the studio when he was his engineer, because it sheds light on how Jones worked. The book doesn't solve the mystery that Bryn Jones was, the steady stream of releases, the politics, the person, but it's good read anyway and it reveals a few minor, yet interesting details. There is a hint of a childhood disease, which may cause his life to be short, but Khider claims not to know the details as the surviving relatives don't speak out - the same relatives who also had not much idea what Jones was up to in his bedroom. I don't think I would change anything about what I already thought of Jones personally or his music (of which I currently hardly own anything: 'Azazzin', 'Port Said' and 'Emak Bakia' - oddly enough; read the book), but when I played this compilation I must say a certain
sense of nostalgia came over me. I would probably listen to some more soon. I found dealing with Bryn Jones difficult, I didn't quite understand what his rationale was towards having so many releases and many of those releases were not well-spend on me. I heard them all, mind you. But whenever I hear it these days - this compilation for instance, or any of his music on an old compilation, I quite enjoy it. Not enough to go back and re-listen to all of it, but it's indeed a form of nostalgia for me.
This oversized book (nicely designed by Erik Kessel and Simon Crab) comes with a compilation CD with a good introduction from the releases he did on Soleilmoon, and no other label is present here, without any unreleased track, and part of this edition (500 copies) comes with ten LPs of music covering the period from 1983 to 1988 - say roughly the period when Jones released much of the music as Muslimgauze on his own imprint, plus lots of pieces released on compilations from that period. This is indeed the most definite word on the mystery of Muslimgauze." [FdW/Vital Weekly]