OK, this sounds like a pretty hokey concept: Pharoah Sanders and some of Bill Laswell's Material crew perform along with recordings of a heartbeat, supplied by Dr. Jean-Louis Zink. Fortunately, it comes off far better in e... more »xecution than one might expect. First off, the heartbeat itself is sonically treated to be more of a bass pulse, which Laswell then elaborates on when his bass is in the picture. As might be expected with Laswell, there are strong elements of dub throughout, from the sound of the basslines to the way the instruments fade in and out. Besides the heartbeat, which is always present to varying degrees, the main sounds are the guitar and electric sitar of Nicky Skopelitis and keyboards either by Jeff Bova or Laswell. Pharoah Sanders' playing is excellent, and the album is enjoyable. Trilok Gurtu is also featured on Tabla and voice. Douglas label. Originally released in 2003.« less
OK, this sounds like a pretty hokey concept: Pharoah Sanders and some of Bill Laswell's Material crew perform along with recordings of a heartbeat, supplied by Dr. Jean-Louis Zink. Fortunately, it comes off far better in execution than one might expect. First off, the heartbeat itself is sonically treated to be more of a bass pulse, which Laswell then elaborates on when his bass is in the picture. As might be expected with Laswell, there are strong elements of dub throughout, from the sound of the basslines to the way the instruments fade in and out. Besides the heartbeat, which is always present to varying degrees, the main sounds are the guitar and electric sitar of Nicky Skopelitis and keyboards either by Jeff Bova or Laswell. Pharoah Sanders' playing is excellent, and the album is enjoyable. Trilok Gurtu is also featured on Tabla and voice. Douglas label. Originally released in 2003.
"bill laswell fans. this an interesting approach for mr sanders, in this selection he is featured with trilok gurtu [tablas, voice]graham haynes [cornet, electronics] nickey skopelitis [guitar, electric sitar] jeff bova [keyboard]dr. jean-louis sink [heartbeat] laswell [ bass, flute, ketboard] and mr sanders playing tenor sax, and flutes.
the music is very hypnotic, dub style with ambient keyboard tablas beautifle sax and flutes feel. the second song morning tala is a retranslation of laswell and wobbles evil eye on dead slow divination ambient dub 2, with a beautifle sanders and skopelitis randition. the funny thing is that zakir hussain was the original tabla player for evil eye and isnt credited on ambient dub II, here im not sure if trilok retranslated it or not. alankara is a sparse tabla and vocal mainelly track with a beat dipping in and out faintelly. the first song is slower dub style with sanders, and the last it more up tempo dub style with graham on amazing cornet. all songes have a real heartbeat continuelessely throughout. dont be afraid its just the future. not a real funk feel to it. dont be scared fantastic."
Strong as ever, ever expanding
Enrique Torres | San Diegotitlan, Califas | 04/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's start with my bias; quite simply, Pharoah Sanders is the man. I've followed his stellar career since back in the day when he was a young side man with John Coltrane. Since Trane's departure Sanders releases have indicated his superb talents can stand alone. Throughout the years his sound has evolved from free-jazz to jazz -funk, to soulful meditative and back a few times. This outing finds Sanders in the outer limits within the peaceful framework of his soulful horn in conjunction with a heartbeat and world beat. If you loved his old material like " The Creator Has a Master Plan" and other tangents away from " traditional " jazz than you will probably like this disc. Whether or not you will love it depends on if you feel the sound of his magestic horn has been compromised with his association with Bill Laswell. There is still the freedom of his sound, free blowing with the rich mature depth that can only be achieved with age and wisdom but he never really cuts loose. This "new " Pharoah Sanders is mixed with the production skills of Bill Laswell to create a sort of new age-dub-jazz ambient musical style that is different from your typical computer-geek turned music freak releases that flood the new age music bins. The Middle Eastern elements are a nice touch with sitars and tablas blending accordingly with the master tenor sax man , Pharoah Sanders, to create a spacey, laid back sound that occasionaly reaches out there further than most music is likely to risk going on a commercial release. Admitedly this is one of those discs that takes several listens to get used to because of the textures that are combined; it just isn't something that you might be used to listening to. Once you have warmed up to the fact that Pharoah Sanders has taken his music in another direction on this disc you can than appreciate the serenity, bliss and occasional chaos that is signature Pharoah Sanders. This is not a jazz disc by most standards but rather a further exploration of the world music, with added electronica, that Sanders has always incorporated into his music. It is an updated, rejuvenated jazz technician utilizing technology and preserving and reserving his authoratative voice like a wise man who speaks rarely but who everyone listens to when the jewlels come forth. It is a strong musical statement that reveals the strength and beauty from within. Another in a long line of super discs by Pharoah Sanders who has always been unafraid to walk alone and lead the way without being tied down or restricted by labels. Highly recommended for people who like jazzy world music that fits the downtempo mode of chill out ala Pharoah Sanders/ Bill Laswell. Take a trip with Pharoah Sanders and listen to your own heartbeat and expand your mind."
Pharoah & Laswell's best collaboration
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike the rather unfocused "Save our Children", this effort melds the best of Pharoah, Laswell & the ever talented tabla phenom Zakir Hussein. The music is poly-rhythmis, pulsating and passionately played. Although not representative of what Pharoah is playing with his own quartet in '04, it is a stellar ecording and not to be missed."
Goofy concept, decent record.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 10/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of the more bizarre albums in Pharoah Sanders' catalog-- "With a Heartbeat" continues his exploration of ethnic musics (usually alongside producer Bill Laswell) that began to capture Sanders' interest in the mid-90s. Co-credited to trumpeter Graham Haynes (who is also credited with electronics but rarely audible on the disc as a trumpet voice), the album features primarily Laswell regulars in Jeff Bova (keyboards) and Nicky Skopelitis (guitars and electric sitar) with Laswell himself handling bass duties and Trilok Gurtu providing tabla. The hook to this album is that all the tracks feature recordings of heartbeats made by a Dr. Jean-Louis Zink.
Yeah, it sounds pretty hokey to me too, but the results are actually pretty decent.
By and large, the pieces set up a synth-driven haze with the heartbeats, delicate percussion, and atmosphere provided by the Skopelitis-- sometimes driving beats emerge (the second half of "Across Time", tabla feature "Alankara"), but by and large its a pretty tame affair. Sanders is fairly mellow, keeping his fiery playing by and large down and performing in his horn's upper register. His playing is lovely and he stunningly never seems to lose any of that fat tone he has.
But if there's a complaint to be made, it's that this one does seem to drag on a bit-- all four of the tracks are fairly extended (two stretch over 15 minutes), and you sort of wish several of them would end before they do. Nonetheless, its a decent record, worth the investment for fans."