Red Madrassa

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Released on Staalplaat's sub-label Muslimlim, Red Madrassa is presented with limited information. These seem to be remixes by Muslimgauze of two basic tracks, "Rhodesia" and "Rya Ba Mutant," done in April 1998. A lot less ambient than usual, the music has a strong (some would say pungent) Arabic aroma. The first and last versions of "Rhodesia" run almost 20 minutes each and take very similar paths. Complex tabla playing -- further complicated through dub-style multiplication techniques -- and a repetitive keyboard motif are joined by a number of voice samples (male, female, children, English, Arab, etc.). Both pieces go on for too long. Despite an obvious talent for varying the presentation, they simply get stuck in a groove and the listener has more than enough time to get tired of the sound sources. Sandwiched between them is a much more satisfying 20-minute split across six short tracks. The "Rya Ba Mutant" remixes ditch the tabla to rely on a thumping beat and invasive layers of noise that might conjure up the image of a world beat-savvy take on Merzbow. Muslimgauze followers who treasure his aptitude for lush atmospheres and absorbing dub experiments will probably find Red Madrassa lacking subtlety or variety.

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