A rare fusion of Turntablism & Experimental music.....
fetish_2000 | U.K. | 04/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bill Laswell is probably one of the most prolific (and accomplished) producer/performers of the last 20 years. His influence and productions have touched upon: World Music, Jazz, Rock, Dub, Experimental, Ambient, Electronica & Fusion. He's probably best known for this music involving Dub music (his true love), but this project is different. What Bill Laswell has done in effect, is assemble a collective of some of Hip-Hop greatest Turntablists, and constructed a project that although heavily indebted to Hip-Hop is a fusionistic sound of sorts. Whereby Hip-Hop production skills & approaches are coupled with Worldbeat sampling, Spoken Word Dialogue and music that touches upon & covers: metal, rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz, and are all seamlessly blended together by a group of turntablists that are arguably amongst the finest artists in their field. "Rob Swift, DJ Krush, Prince Paul, DJ Q-Bert, Invisibl Scratch Piklz (incorrectly & amusingly spelt "Invisible Scratch Pickles" on the back of the CD Case). Although this stunning album features Turntablists, It isn't purely a turntable practitioners album, as various artists from the field of Experimental, Worldbeat (& the axiom Label), all contribute to produce something based around 'Fusion' (albeit one, with a heavy emphasis on scratching & Mixing). But the inclusion of experimental rock/ Avant-garde musicians give the project a completely new slant (Bootsy Collins, Jah Wobble, Liu Sola, New Kingdom, Laswell).
"Reanimation" sees 'Rob Swift' cutting up samples and sounds usually found in World music to stunning effect, with heavy bass sounds twisted and warped to sound like electronically produced worldbeat. "3D - Cut Transmission" finds Jah Wobble on Bass Guitar duties with Percussion & effects courtesy of Bill Laswell & Jerome Brailey, with 'DXT' (who features on several tracks here), handling the subtle turntable trickery sonics. Its a sound not a million miles away from the experimental Dub Albums that both Wobble & Laswell are famous for, and remains a engaging different sound with DXT's deft mixing. "Shin-Ki-Row" introduces japan's favourite turntablist "'DJ Krush' onto the decks, and his slow brooding style of instrumental Trip-Hop is a agreeably welcome change of pace. With Hypnotic grooves and thick, layered breaks, almost ambient in texture, his subtle scratching also manages to push all the right buttons. 'DXT's' similarly styled "Black Hole Universe", although not quite as much a journey into the excursions of hip-hop avant-garde, as DJ Krush's effort, it's still a massively realised track of mid- to slow-tempo grooves and breaks, with varying low bass tones, that prove DXT to be a truly versatile DJ.
"If 9 was 6" finds 'Prince Paul' providing a more uptempo, Hip-Hop instrumental, that any turntable compilation would be more to happy to include, but it's true potential is realised with the next track, which takes his instrumental blueprint and adds 'Bootsy Collins' on Bass & Vocal (with some re-editing from DXT), and suddenly the track evolves into a full blown slightly P-funk derived track (think if..."Funkadelic / Paraliment", did Hip-Hop). "Ancient Style" is a glorious slow-burning, almost soul-inflicted tempo, with Rob deftly shunning thudding beats, in favour of something far more melodic and considered, with vocalist 'Liu Sola' (a Chinese Multicultural vocalist), whose incorporates Chinese opera, free jazz, funk, blues, and even Japanese theatre in her performances....but here she textures the grooves with harmonies and soft melodies, that although not quite Avant-garde, is certainly unlike most tracks on the majority of turntable-inspired records, and yet feels utterly unique & compelling.
"Invasion of the Octopus People" & "One Legged Centipede" are two tracks later on in the album, that are produced and performed by 'Invisibl Skratch Piklz", and their energetic turntable acrobatics, finds a welcome home here, as the fractured and freewheeling music aesthetic that they are renowned for, is fully in evidence here, and the hybrid of furious scratching & a Unified montage of abstract beats and dialogue that is broken down into their simplest elements, and using their highly skilled level of ability...cutting, scratching, and beat juggling everything until it's unrecognisable and sounds as something completely new. And almost as if to show that Hip-Hop isn't all about head-Nodding beats..."Valis'" introduces the intitally unassuming dreamy electronic psychedelia of "Black Wax", with it's ambient tones and downtempo mood, it's more Trip-Hop than it is Hip-Hop, but it's Cerebral, Organic & Ethereal tones, are perfectly in keeping with some of Laswells modern Creative/ Dark Ambient work.
If you can find this Cd (good luck and its long since been deleted), and you have even a remote passing interest in the dynamics of turntable-derived music, this really is required purchasing....because as well as being technically as accomplished, as other leading turntable albums, this has the added benefit of (thanks to Bill Laswell producing the album), pushing the album into new territory, think of this album as a sort of Avant-garde turntablisim record, and your halfway to understanding how utterly essential this record is."
The Fututre of Hip-Hop
altana01 | 05/08/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you had any doubt that turntable-scratching is a musical talent just as much as sax-blowing or fiddle-playing, this album will set you straight. The beats are perfectly synched with the scratching and samples that sometimes fly faster than the ear can hear, sometimes wait and linger. The beats are broken occasionally by vocals, including long samples and call-and-response, that show that this music never lost its brain."