Thursday, October 2, 2008

Material - Live In Japan

When is a Material album not a Material album? Or rather, when is a Material album a Material album? Bill Laswell has produced lots of albums featuring the same rotating stable of musicians that are sometimes called Material, but most of them have given top billing to featured artists or sported other band names: Ginger Baker, Nicky Skopelitis, Aiyb Dieng, Bill Laswell, Deadline, Sacred System, etc. Live In Japan could just as well have been credited to Foday Musa Suso or Ginger Baker. But it has the Material moniker, the only album of original material (as it were) released during the brief association with the Restless label. The recordings on Live In Japan are taken from performances in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Imabari in August 1992 with the following lineup:
  • Foday Musa Suso: kora, dousongonni, guitar, percussion, vocal
  • Bill Laswell: bass
  • Bernie Worrell: piano, Hammond organ, Clavinet, synthesizer
  • Nicky Skopelitis: 6 & 12 string guitars
  • Aiyb Dieng: chatan, congas, talking drum, percussion
  • Ginger Baker: drums

The All Music Guide doesn't think much of this one:

It's a great lineup, and one that should have delivered much more musical interest than it does on this album. "Leaving Earth" is a six-and-a-half minute meditation on a one-chord riff; more than just boring, it's also badly recorded. "Desert Star" is an improvement, with a nice interplay of fretless bass and a bowed African instrument in a much improved mix. And "Out of Dreamtime" affords more dynamic variety, but it leads into an eleven-minute percussion solo which is well executed but drags on forever. Overall, this is a disappointing disc that could and should have been much better.

Hey, if you like good drumming, a long, well-executed percussion solo is fantastic! And something that gets lost in the plethora of Laswell productions is that he is an awesome bass player, but that aspect comes through throughout this album. And it's a generous 69 minutes long. What's not to like? Track list:

01-Invocation.mp3
02-Leaving Earth.mp3
03-Desert Star.mp3
04-Out of the Dreamtime.mp3
05-Obsessed.mp3
06-Into the Seventh House.mp3
07-Dousongonni Song.mp3
08-The Receiver.mp3
09-The Creator Has a Master Plan.mp3
10-The Image of the One.mp3

I don't know where most of these songs originated, just that the last two are originally by Pharaoh Sanders. Anyone know? Let me know in the comments. Get the CD rip here or here.

5 comments:

fats comet said...

I'm an obsessive Laswell collector and I have to disagree with Rick Anderson's AllMusic review.

I've listened to this CD many many times and although the recording quality isn't perfect on "Leaving Earth" (Foday Suso's percussion and Worrell's keyboards sometimes barely audible in the mix, Laswell perhaps too high, some electric buzzing) it's never bothered me much.

Ginger Baker's solo (or rather duet with Aiyb Dieng) is amazing and Laswell is in top form on this disc (check out his bass work on "The Creator Has A Master Plan"), with great performances by the rest of the crew throughout.

Definitely one of Laswell's discs I listen to often, and highly recommended.

Fantod said...

I'm with you, I think this is a great disc. What are your favorites for Laswell's bass playing? I love his basslines on the Golden Palominos' "This Is How It Feels," and his work on Robert Musso's Transonic discs.

Anonymous said...

QUITE nice ! a big THANKS, man . This one had passed me by.
oh, ...
and , the AMG reviewer dude? He can go shat in his hat. Opinions are like assholes, right ?

well here`s another....(from someone who has been listening daily to the most adventurous music I can find for .... oh gawd..
55 years now ! whoa ! I shocks meself...

Don`t allow the un-endowed/ those with small ears and very limited appreciation sway you from checking out this super nice live show. It has plenty to offer and is
WELL worth your time !

~V Dorje

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