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Bellwether Project
Bellwether Project
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Slang is the brainchild of Dave Schools and Layng Martine III. The Bellwether Project, a collection of ten unique tracks, stems from a decade long friendship and the gradual intertwining of musical sensibilities. It is a...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Slang
Title: Bellwether Project
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Terminus Records
Release Date: 6/5/2001
Genres: Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 694205010225


Album Description
Slang is the brainchild of Dave Schools and Layng Martine III. The Bellwether Project, a collection of ten unique tracks, stems from a decade long friendship and the gradual intertwining of musical sensibilities. It is a record of complementary forces, fusing Schools' roots in improvisational rock with Martine's work in musical montage. Dave Schools is the bass player for Athens, GA rock band Widespread Panic. Over the last fifteen years, Widespread Panic has toured relentlessly, built a catalog of 9 records, and developed an extensive fan base around the world. During this time, Schools and Panic have had the opportunity to play with a myriad of musicians including Taj Mahal, Branford Marsalis, Jorma Kaukonen, Robbie Krieger, NRBQ, Vic Chesnutt, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and others. Schools' early influences were the hard-driving sounds of rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and the Grateful Dead, but his musical taste is much broader than rock, encompassing many styles of jazz, blues, and electronic music. Says Schools, "I've had an interest in constructed music since I first heard the circus organ solo in 'For the Benefit of Mr. Kite'. They cut up the tape, dropped it on the floor and put it back together." Layng Martine III, also a bass player, was born in Greenwich, CT and raised in Nashville, TN. He is the namesake of his father, a renowned Nashville songwriter who has penned songs for artists such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood, among others. Martine played bass in several bands throughout high school and college and eventually moved to New York City, where he landed the highly coveted position as assistant to experimental/electronica mastermind Bill Laswell. Martine has worked on over 100 Laswell projects and has released his own records under the creative moniker "Corporal Blossom." It was in Laswell's Greenpoint Studio that Martine first met singer/songwriter Lori Carson of the Golden Palominos. This meeting would eventually lead to their collaboration on her 1999 Restless Records release, Stars, and later again on The Bellwether Project. Layng Martine III first met Dave Schools in 1988. A fan of Widespread Panic, Martine caught one of the first of the band's notorious New Year's Eve gigs in Athens. Martine recalls, "I wasn't prepared for the show I saw that blew me away." Over the next few years, Martine caught several more Widespread Panic concerts and a friendship between he and Schools emerged. Although the two often spoke of collaborating artistically, their conversations generally gravitated towards recommending new music to one another. Says Schools, "My head was turned around by [Material's] Hallucination Engine, the first Praxis record and [Nicky Skopelitis'] Ekstasis." All three are Laswell-helmed records. Nearly a decade passed before Martine and Schools would begin the early recordings that would eventually become The Bellwether Project. In December of 1998, Martine drove to Athens to visit Schools and the two spent an evening putting beats together. The next day, Schools played along with them, improvising on bass over the beats they had recorded. Martine took those recordings, and based on the best ones, began rough structures of would-be songs. Martine called upon a few other musicians to collaborate and new structures began to emerge. He then sent a few tracks to Schools, who enjoyed his newly found creative outlet, Slang, because it allowed him to work outside the parameters of his role in Widespread Panic. After hearing near-completed versions of the initial tracks, 'Moonlight's Fair,' 'Third Ear' and 'Southern Wind,' both began to take the Slang recordings more seriously. Schools contacted San Francisco-based friend and guitarist Eric McFadden and they both met with Martine in Seattle, where they spent a weekend recording furiously. Seattle-based musicians Jon Hyde and Pete Droge came on board and added a few guitar tracks. Upon Schools' return to Georgia he put the Slang demos into the hands of long-time friends, Jeff Bransford and Jeff Duckworth, who were in the early stages of initiating an Atlanta-based record label, Terminus Records. With their interest and support, the project began to snowball. More recording took place in Manhattan and rural Long Island and the remaining tracks were completed, resulting in finished collaborations with some of music's finest: turntable master DXT (Bill Laswell, Herbie Hancock) members of Viperhouse (Michael Chorney and Zack Tonnissen,) Fognode, Jay Rodriguez, Pete Droge, Gordon Raphael and Lori Carson. The Bellwether Project weaves a multi-textural cinematic soundscape, brimming with abstract imagery and atmosphere. From the groovy and audacious feel of 'Field Guide to Snapping' to the gritty march-funk pastiche of 'Dirtwater Telegraph' to the dreamy pedal steel featured on 'Moonlight's Fair,' the album is an unpredictable ride, beautiful and mysterious. 'What A Day May Bring,' clocking in at over nine minutes, feels like the emotional core of the record and moves gracefully on to 'Little Bird,' a delicate lullaby sung by Lori Carson. The finished product is a compelling fusion of sounds, both modern and traditional, and resonates each artists' diverse tastes in music. The debut release from Slang reveals the cut-and-paste creativity of two incredible artists with a mutual vision. The Bellwether Project, with Schools and Martine as its creative nucleus, is electric and organic, featuring innovative, modern touches and amazing production. Slang - The Bellwether Project was mastered at Sterling Sound by Tom Coyne and is also available on vinyl.

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CD Reviews

morgan | Chicago,IL | 07/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a great surprise! This record displays the talents of Dave Schools (Widepread Panic)& Layng Martine III (Bill Laswell). These two have really nailed it here---->tight electronic grooves mixed with organic touches that blend together to form a really unbelievable record. The production is first class, the packaging is fantastic and overall a phenomenal debut from Slang. Guests include: DXT(the dude that did Rocket), Pete Droge, Lori Carson, members of Viperhouse and more. Highly recommended for lovers of all types of music including--electronic, drum n' bass, ambient, funk, jam, pop---it's all over the place, but seamless."
Cool Stuff
morgan | 06/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great CD for just kicking back. As a Panic fan, I was expecting a great jam CD seeing as how Dave Schools was one half of Slang. It was not anything near a jam CD, but I was pleasantly suprised to find this type of funky, jazzy, almost techno-ish type music to be extremely enjoyable. If you enjoy vocals, don't buy this CD (there are almost none of the entire album)- but if you like funky background music for parties or relaxing, this is great stuff. If you want to check it out, Terminus uses the first song off the album for their flash intro at their website."
Schools for President
morgan | 06/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Schools and Martine team up to create a new genre of music. Now that Schools has conquered techno with some of the best cross-style bass playing imaginable, I'm entirely prepared for him to jump to Klezmer, Polka, and eventually, Bass music in Braille. There is nothing this man can't do. This album is neither southern rock nor techno - it is simply better than most of the music you own. Yes, I mean you. Don't miss out."