Jaagheed Zarb


Some people say that once you've heard one Muslimgauze release, you've heard them all. The nuance here depends on whether that adage came from someone who has truly listened to Muslimgauze music or whether it came from the mouth of an uninitiated individual. Nearly a decade since his death, Bryn Jones' music remains as vital today as it was at the height of his creative powers. If you look at his discography, you'll notice the new issues keep coming as steadily now as they were during his lifespan. The latest two issues [both limited to 700 copies] are a living testament to his dexterity as a proprietor of sounds that are keen on bringing Arabic music one step closer to the western audience.

"Jaagheed Zarb" permeates in variety of beats. From the hip-hop analogy of "Sari of Human Hair", through to lush beats of "Kiss of Deceit" all the way through to the rapid break-beat of "Hafeez Kardar", the rhythms are ever-changing and evolving. Middle-eastern presence is felt on just about every track. Especially potent is the hypnotic vocal samples on "Vinoo Mankad Option". Excruciating fat bottom pops in on "Turn Left on Jabaliya". At each turn, the approach changes and with it, the music takes on a new life of its own. Celebratory, maddening and pissed off, the album speaks volumes through beats of the injustices that occur daily in the Middle East.

With "Jah-meArab", Jones moves deeper into the indigenous music of the region he's loved for some many years. "Morocco Leather" is a hollowed-out percussive sound surrounded by an intermittent vocal sample. Twisted hip-hop drenched break-beats are the order of the day on "Army of Females Wearing Laytex Gadaffi Masks", while a violent beat permeates "Woman Prefer Islam". Winner of the bunch is "Just in Tunis, Only Just", which is a nearly ten minute, minimal creation of light percussive tapings that resemble tender footsteps on sand. The constantly evolving loops and crunchy beats are mesmerizing, though one always remembers that this music was made out of sheer frustration and anger. Each beat and each minute transports the listener closer to discovering the true nature of Jones and his maddening obsession with everything that will some day bring Palestine to ultimate autonomy and freedom.

- Tom Sekowski

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