“With Bryn, his music was coming (from) somewhere in the future. There were reference points, but there wasn’t anything you could say that it was directly influenced by.” So mused John Bolloten aka The Rootsman when he played back the DATs sent from Bryn Jones. Bolloten first became aware of Muslimgauze in 1993 in an issue of The Wire magazine, and was intrigued someone was doing unique recordings influenced both musically and thematically by the Muslim world. Yet, when he finally did listen to Muslimgauze music, there was something lacking (to his ears) in the sound that Bolloten could not quite place. However, he was drawn by the provocative art work, album and track titles, and the dedications to the struggles of Palestinians or others in predominantly Muslim countries. Bolloten worked in a roots reggae shop since the 80’s, and before long became a ‘selecta’ at local clubs where he dropped the needle on the choicest dub cuts as The Rootsman. Before long, The Rootsman had his own night, ‘Dub Me Crazy’ at the Soundclash club in Leeds where he played alongside guest DJ’s, Andrew Weatherall (Two Lone Swordsmen), Justin Robertson (Lionrock), and Alex Patterson (The Orb).
It was also during the early 90’s when Bolloten produced his own brand of dub reggae, some Islamic-themed, since he was drawn that direction spiritually and became a convert. Bolloten’s first release was a 10″, Koyaanisqatsi on the Soundclash label, before founding his own Third Eye Music imprint to release both his own music and that of other worthy dub artists.
Jones and Bolloten were finally introduced by a mutual friend during a Dub Me Crazy night, where the latter recalls, “I was expecting somebody in combat gear, a militant guy and there was this weedy guy in sandals. Not what I expected. I spoke briefly about him doing some mixes for me. I had an album out at the time (In Dub We Trust) and a few days later a DAT tape arrived.” The DAT was a remix of In Dub We Trust (1995) off Bolloten’s Third Eye Music imprint, the first remix of many. Jones was not exactly an effusive personality, rather he communicated best through music and the DATs were his way of saying ‘hello’. And the DAT’s continued to arrive until the two collaborated in the studio in what were prolific sessions. Dub is ideally experienced in a club setting with optimal speakers with pronounced low-end, and The Rootsman took special care to ensure the music was felt as much heard. These evenings, remixes, and subsequent collaborations became turning points in the sound of Muslimgauze where the missing element Bolloten sensed, finally arrived.
This remix CD is posthumously titled On Line Jihad and could be likened to when a crazed duppy takes possession of a roots dub studio; evidenced in the sudden Turrets-syndrome shifts in gain, acid bath distortion, schizophrenic panning, and random Jamaican patwa intonations amidst rocksteady guitar skanks, riddim wild, and staggered echo. Somehow, East Indian and Arab vocals and instruments make their home in Kingston, Jamaica to rally the poor and oppressed against first-world colonialist oppressors. Nowhere is this mood more exemplified in “Holy War (Part 1)” which leads as insurrection amidst sustained calls of “God is Great” in Arabic, followed by a rallying riddims, earth-shaking bass lines and shrapnel ricochets.
The Muslimgauze Preservation Society is proud to offer Muslimgauze remixes The Rootsman, and the collaborations. On Line Jihad is pressed exactly as received, set in super jewel casing with papyrus cover hand-printed in liberated Egypt, 18-panel fold open poster with liner notes, and glossy sticker. This is part one of a multi-part series.