DJ/rupture Gets Wrapped Up In Muslimgauze

Jul 23rd, 2007 // 4 Comments

Muslimgauze.jpg There’s a fantastic “appreciation” of English experimental/ambient act Muslimgauze in Middle Eastern arts journal Bidoun by Jace “DJ/rupture” Clayton that you can also read in full on the magazine’s Web site. Muslimgauze was Bryn Jones, a pasty Mancunian industrialist who, after becoming radicalized over the Israel/Palestine conflict in the early ’80s, devoted himself to making atmospheric, deeply evocative (when it was good, anyway) electronic music as a way of promoting his hardcore pro-Palestine views even after he died. (Seriously, the folks who administer Jones’ estate could teach any dead musican’s family a thing or two about renewable revenue.) Appreciation is in quotes there because Muslimgauze’s output is probably the most politically charged, sometimes downright infuriating, “abstract” electronic music of the last few decades.

If Jones’ all-encompassing agit-prop isn’t outright anti-Semitic in its virulent anti-Israeli sentiment, it skirts the issue close enough to be deeply uncomfortable at times, a topic Rupture wrestles with in his essay with no clear conclusions, hardline art having a tendency to produce conflicted opinions for non-converts. For most Idolator readers, the bulk of Muslimgauze’s epic body of work will probably remain unheard, but hey, at least Rupture’s piece is a sign that great music writing isn’t dead yet, provided you’re looking in places like Middle Eastern A&E magazines (or the blogs of their contributors). You should also check out Rupture’s radio show, which airs Wednesdays on WFMU and which bangs everything from cumbia to hip-hop to bhangra, all of it archived for your later listening pleasure.

Muslimgauze [Bidoun]


  1. Ned Raggett

    Great article, thanks v. much for this link. I had far too many of Muslimgauze’s albums for my good or anyone else’s (and I have the AMG reviews to prove it) but at the end the one album of his I still hold onto is possibly the least (overtly) confrontational one he ever released, Zul’m. And it still works, I drag it out from time to time, and it’s one of the most distortion-free of his albums. But he was damned hard to write about in the end — DJ Rupture’s statement, “We face an awkward possibility: to hear Muslimgauze, we must not listen to Bryn Jones,” is a spot-on perfect summation.

  2. CloudCarrier

    Hearing muslimgauze as a high schooler perplexed me to no end, as it still does now. But the politics were never as much a question back then, as in what could a 16 year-old kid in the middle of suburbia who listened to aphex twin endlessly want with politics? These days, especially the years following his death (an event I’m still at odds with, the whole equation like a giant, blinking question mark), I still find solace in the music, as music. After all, is it so bad that because of listening to one of his records, I became more interested in phillip glass than the PLO?

  3. the rich girls are weeping

    Point, laugh, call us total blinkin music nerds and aficionados of tough geopolitical questions, but the oeuvre of Musilmgauze has been the topic of interesting conversations at the TRGAW HQ numerous times.

    So, you have my thx. for posting this! I think this post officially sealed the TRGAW stamp of approval re: your new gig. Heh. Congrats, btw! (:

    Carry on!

    cindy hotpoint

  4. slutsky

    Yes! Excellent article. /rupture is such a good writer. I never really listened to Muslimgauze–kinda scared the shit out of my confused industrial-loving Jewish teenage self. But I really like the way dude writes about him…

Leave A Comment