Staalplaat / Netherlands / 2021 / 2LP
Narcotic is perhaps one example of an album in both camps of the muslimgauze spectrum, it denotes the expertise acquired in oriental percussion by Bryn Jones after a crescent development and practice through action, part Tribal, part Ambient with shades of texturized noise, glitch details and field recordings, as result the listener is inside this intoxicant atmosphere of exotic madness, where the basic musical premise constituted by the consistent tribal beats from darbukas and tambourines contrasting radically with the eerie sounds from organic noise, distortions and minimal jams.
The opening track "Medina Flight" bangs on with a metallic sounding looped drum track that blares with distortion at some points while background voices chant out vocals nearly throughout. The track is flavored with other harsh sounds and even a few woodwind sounding instruments before subsequently breaking down and starting back in several times. "Believers of the Blind Sheikh" is a 10-minute middle-eastern sounding dub track sprinkled with live drum sounds and more occasional vocal samples of unknown conversation. "Saddams Children" leans more toward traditional instruments, but one can hear the gurgle of electronics lightly in the background.
The instrumentation of the album is amazing. When I first started seeing that Muslimgauze released so many albums in such a short amount of time, I naturally thought that the quality might fall suspect, but Narcotic is a solid piece of work that covers quite a chunk of the electronic music spectrum, although a lot of the rhythms tend to fall on a little harder side. It manages to blend ethnic and electronic sounds into quite an interesting mix.
The images of a surrealistic desert land inhabited by the bizarre and general strangeness abounds in between the strong rhythm usage and cinematic atmosphere unbound, subsequently the decisive progression from the album increases this sensation. The listener easily gets submerged into this opium like state, suscintly guided by the beats and echoes from oriental sounds that wander in and out of the speakers and far away and so close from the mind.
Interesting and atractive the album keeps a middle ground status, half experimental and other half adapted for the tribal and linear structure common to Muslimgauze, the listener will find quite another of the many faces of this enigmatic artist.