A Remembrance of Bryn Jones
January 15, 1999

Bryn Jones was born and lived his life in Manchester, England. He was the driving force behind the musical project known as Muslimgauze. Bryn became ill in late December/early January 1999, having contracted a rare blood fungus that eventually took its toll on his immune system. He was admitted to the Royal Northern Hospital and eventually developed pneumonia and had to be moved to Hope Hospital Intensive care in Manchester. The kidney machine that was stabilizing him had to be switched off and he passed away.
Bryn was of course most known to the world for his political and musical obsession, Muslimgauze. He worked tirelessly for 17 years defining an entire genre of music all his own. The Muslimgauze landscape is lush, densely populated, tense and beautiful, reflecting the Palestinian dilemma and the Arab world, which were endless sources of inspiration for him. Indisputably Bryn was the Sultan of a desert kingdom he alone created, one grain of sand at a time.

His discography dwarfs nearly every other musician in the world of electronic music. Each album was like a region in his Emirate, each track, a vignette captured on a postcard or an evening newscast telling the troubled story of his people. Though born in the UK and certainly of English blood, his people were of course, the Arabs, the Palestinians, and the oppressed. Bryn fought for them with each album, drawing more and more people to an awareness and a better understanding of their situation.

Bryn boldly told the story of the Middle East, as much with words as with sounds and concepts. Bryn single-handedly brought the Middle East to us forcefully; sometimes it was unpleasant, violent and uncompromising, other times marvelous, beautiful, exotic, and noble. His rhythmic brushes painted endless portraits of mothers sobbing, markets bustling, old men pleading, young maidens singing, and too many men tragically dying. Bryn brought the realities of the Middle East to our ears, eyes, minds and hearts.

We have lost so much, an entire genre is missing from the world with Bryn gone. Consider how many people you know who have at least one Muslimgauze release in their collection. People from all corners of the music world, ambient, techno, idm, gothic, dub, trip-hop, ethno-tribal, industrial, ethereal… everyone has at least heard of him. The ramification of his death will leave a deep chasm of silence where once was beautiful sound.

Salaam Alekum, Bryn; you will forever live on in your music.

Remembrance from the Islamaphonia mailing list.

New York Times obituary