Staalplaat / Europe / 2021 / 2LP
Listeners who know much of anything about Bryn Jones’ work as Muslimgauze know that he was prolific in both his work and in the way he sent out his work to labels and other interested parties (it’s one of the reason some of that body of work is still being sorted through and released 20+ years after his passing). Fittingly enough for an artist that feverishly productive and often taciturn to the point of frustration, he didn’t tend to give much more information than handwritten track titles on the sleeve of a DAT.
Why he would submit multiple copies of the same or similar tracks to those he worked with, often in totally different configurations, is now a permanent mystery, but it does lead to Jackal the Invizible, essentially a compilation of material from multiple other releases* that Jones had also submitted at the time on its own DAT. All of the songs here were released at least 20 years ago (a few over 30!) and as with practically all Muslimgauze releases they were limited and/or hard to get ahold of now. Jackal the Invizible is both a way to issue those tracks on vinyl as the Archive Series has been consistently doing, and in interesting look into how Jones would organize and sequence his albums.
The track listing here was faithfully reproduced from the way Jones titled these tracks on this submission, which is how you get Fedayeen’s “Bharboo of Pakistan Railways” here called “Fedayeen Bharboo of Pakistan Railways 2001” (although that album came out in 1998 and Jones sadly was not making anything by 2001, only leading to more questions). This compilation as with most of his work was submitted without comment, so it can be asked, was it intended to be a compilation? Had he at some point decided he preferred these tracks in this arrangement rather than on their other tapes? Did he produce so much work and/or was so disorganized he simply forgot this batch had been mailed off before? Did he have a standing arrangement with his postal worker and just handed him whatever was closest to the door each week? (Well, probably not that last one.)
One thing we don’t have to question is the quality of the tracks here, regardless of familiarity. The new juxtapositions can be quite striking; shifting suddenly from the harshly distorted blurts of “Resume and Shaduf Fatah Guerrilla 1999” to the cooly nocturnal atmosphere of “Abu Nidal 1987” and then to the dubby bass pulses and rattling hand percussion of “Hand of Fatima 1999” (possibly the most misleading to longtime listeners - it has indeed been heard on it’s almost-namesake album, but there it’s known as “Mint Tea With Gadaffi”) is an experience unlike much else in Jones’ oeuvre, even though all three modes are ones he has worked in before. The result doesn’t touch on every single mode explored throughout the vast body of Jones’ work (you’d need a box set for that), but does prove to be a multifaceted experience that also serves as an excellent introduction to or refresher on Muslimgauze as a whole.