Muslimgauze - Ali Zarin (2xLP)
Limited edition of 500 -- last copies.
With the massive amount of material Bryn Jones had left in the vaults when he passed away in 1999, it's hard to truly assess his progression, stylistic or otherwise, over the years. And his reasons for choosing to release one tape's worth of material over another's were sometimes as mysterious as anything else about his work as Muslimgauze. But upon stumbling onto the material found on the undated tape known as Ali Zarin, it's hard not to wonder how it would have been received if it had been released during Jones's lifetime.
The three-part, 43-minute title-track (the only part of the material to be given a proper title) makes for some of Jones's most relentlessly driving work ever. As soundbites about occupation and Israel float in and out of the mix, a series of crashes and scrapes and a distorted beat contort themselves into shapes and patterns, wearing a cracked, scraping groove into the ground. For almost 22 minutes, the first part of "Ali Zarin" finds frantic beauty in the dense repetition of these elements; when the sounds remain but shift place and emphasis in "Part 2," it's almost shocking.
Even more than most Muslimgauze releases, "Ali Zarin" sounds like it could have come out in the mid-'90s and remain equally contemporary. Although "Ali Zarin" could easily stand on its own, that doesn't mean that the rest of the contents of the tape aren't worth sharing as well. These four untitled demos and a brief "Rest Track" sketch show more directions in which Jones might have gone (but didn't, at least based on what has been uncovered so far), especially the prowling late-night ambience and conventional drum kit loop of "Demo-01" and the densely looped bass pulses of "Demo-04." It just serves to confirm the breadth of riches in Jones's archive, and make the listener wonder what else is waiting to be unearthed.