NYC Experimentalism At Its Funkiest!
P. McKenna | Atlanta GA | 02/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Material was not so much a band, but rather a constantly evolving concept driven by bassist/producer Bill Laswell and a large pool of divergent talents that shared his love of unabashed musical experimentation.
Where else can you hear such things as industrial noise daning playfully with bayou country, stomping funk and off-kilter post-70's progressive rock (no, it doesn't sound like Yes or ELP, but something uniquely its own, as in being GENUINELY progressive and forward looking)?
The core perpetrators are bassist/uber-producer Bill Laswell and Michael Beinhorn (contributing synth textures, found sounds, ominous vocals and other sonic mayhem) pulling in a cast of musicians that uniquely fits each separate musical idea/composition. Among the unique talents are violinist Billy Bang (heard to great effect on "Upriver"), rumperter Olu Dara, experimental guitarist Fred Frith and many others help Laswell and Beinhorn create alternately ominous, colorful and always unpredictable soundscapes. And all throughout, there is the ever-present funky groove that keeps your body engaged while your mind is being stimulated as Laswell lays down slithery, funky bass lines to keep the maelstrom from spinning completely out of control.
Highly recommended, especially for those who love experimental music and enjoy get down funk at the same time!
P. McKenna | 05/17/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bill Laswell's band's 1983 release is a classic synthesis of bass-heavy funk and arty, industrial sensibilities. With depressorama song titles like "Conform to the Rhythm" and "Unauthorized," you'd think this disc wouldn't be worth the trouble of putting it in the machine, but it's very dancy and even fun in some parts, such as the subtle irony of "Square Dance." Check out where all the technogoth teen idols stole their ideas."