Veiled Sisters


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Veiled Sisters Review

by Ned Raggett

Muslimgauze's first double-disc release of any kind, while demonstrating Jones' increasing ambition, has not held up well over time in the eyes of many fans, in comparison to other albums. The heart of the problem is that for an effort running over two hours, Veiled Sisters is extremely one-note; the basic sound and flow of the discs at the start don't change at all by their end. While Muslimgauze does work within a particular stylistic zone, to be sure, things here simply don't vary. The music consists of light electronic drum/cymbal sounds with an occasional drop-in of more "natural" percussion sounds, subliminal bass, and very gentle keyboard melodies and drones, all combined with a series of random conversational samples in Arabic. It is initially rather nice, but it can test an audience's patience as the discs continue. This said, while the variances in the pieces are astoundingly slight throughout, what changes do occur have a greater impact than expected as a result. Thus, the conclusion of the "Submit to Sharia/Qasidah Murmur/Lebanon" combination on the first disc, when the music temporarily drops out near the end over a floating bed of soft, shadowy keyboards before returning one last time, has a much more gripping feeling to it than might otherwise be predicted. Ultimately, the enjoyment of Veiled Sisters will depend on listeners' enthusiasm for Muslimgauze to begin with, and whether or not they simply let it go at its own pace; though not a peak in Bryn Jones' musical career, it still has a certain something to it nonetheless. [Side note: while the album is listed as having 21 songs, the CD mastering and editing of the songs in practical terms make it three separate tracks per disc.]

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