On January 15, 1999, listeners of ambient/experimental/ethnic sounds lost one of their most unique "voices". In a Manchester, England hospital, Bryn Jones succumbed to a rare, fatal blood fungus; Muslimgauze is no more.
It's no exaggeration to say Jones was fanatically devoted to his cause; since his first recording in 1982, he protested the ongoing Palestinian/ Israeli/ Arab socio-political controversies with a phenomenal number of recordings, almost 90 releases (with several more pending).
His percussion-filled instrumentals were filled with samples taken from newscasts, film and documentary tapes, all of which infused his work with Middle Eastern overtones. Without lyrics, his feelings of injustice were more implied than overtly cried out, though his song and album titles were often pointedly straightforward in their condemnation.
In February of 1998, thanks to Terry Allen Bennett, I was able to correspond with the enigmatic and opinionated Jones in the Muslimgauze interview if you wish to refer to that. On-site reviews of Jones' work include the Blue Mosque 2-CD, as well as the Beyond the Blue Mosque compilation.
Of course, Terry Allen Bennet's Official Muslimgauze website is the source of information, including Jones' amazing discography, loads of reviews, and much more.
I close this memorial by pointing out two short reviews of earlier Muslimgauze releases in this month's Overviews.
My condolences to Bryn Jones' family and friends who can never replace him, but will hopefully take some comfort in knowing he touched the lives of many. His listeners at least can still get to know Jones through his extraordinarily large legacy of recorded material.
Jan. 27, 1999