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.