Spicy hot ecectro-acoustic African hash den luncheonette
ADK | Royal Oak, Mi. United States | 07/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Awesome mixture of exotic acoustic and electric elements, rhythms and tonalities. Ginger Baker is a world traveler and this has heavy leanings to African themes but Bill Laswell's production brings it out of the village into the studio, but just barely.
The drumming and percussion throughout the album goes beyond the boundries of both rock and world music. Bass duties are handled by Laswell and Jah Wobble, often both on the same track. Exotic guitars played by tonemaster Nicky Skopeltis. No vocals, no need for them here.In fact I've played this recording since it first came out (circa 1989) but not until writing this review now did the abscence of vocals even dawn on me.
Middle Passage is an album of six masterful arrangements of various intensities from bold to simmering. I like Laswell's production style but on some recordings he gets to "loop happy" and looses ground, but not here this is a great meeting of real playing with only a slight sense of production.Ginger Baker is one of the most recognisable names in drumming the world over, despite over a 10 year sabbatical from the music industry (mid 70's until mid-late 80's) and also being an artist with integrity, taste and intention. For those of you who are aware of his sublime Horses and Trees album Middle Passage is like the next progressive step in strength and intensity but with relativly similar exotic acoustic/electric instrumentation.The overall picture presented by the music? maybe something like having a big bowl of saucy spiced hot stew inside the flame and insense lit brick and clay walls of an African-Asian hashish lunchoenette den."
Loved his playing since the 60's
Rude | The Rockies | 01/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw many Cream performances in the 60's. Was always awe-struck with this man's drumming. Recently became re-acquainted through finding these many other more recent recordings. Since I have traveled to Africa quite a bit, the rhythms from that continent have become part of my soul. This album is fantastic. Captures these rhythms and beyond using modern recording technologies and definitely Ginger's style. This is but one of many new and great recordings (a must have in my book),and, hopefully just one of many more to follow. Thanks Ginger."