This album was also packaged as a limited edition boxed version, which included a 30 page booklet of pictures, words for each piece, and a brief chronology of events in Bowles' life.

  1/  Up Above World                             (Bowles,Laswell)              2.17
  2/  Love Song                                  (Bowles,Laswell)              0.30
  3/  Baptism of Solitude                        (Bowles,Laswell)              3.36
  4/  Each Whining Thing                         (Bowles,Laswell)              1.06
  5/  Next To Nothing                            (Bowles,Laswell)              10.23
  6/  Points In Time                             (Bowles,Laswell)              1.05
  7/  Voyage En Egypte                           (Bowles,Laswell)              1.41
  8/  The Delicate Prey                          (Bowles,Laswell)              4.26
  9/  The Circular Valley                        (Bowles,Laswell)              3.11
  10/ A Distant Episode                          (Bowles,Laswell)              3.40
  11/ Delicate Song                              (Bowles,Laswell)              0.57
  12/ You Are Not I                              (Bowles,Laswell)              0.20
  13/ The Sheltering Sky                         (Bowles,Laswell)              11.11
  14/ Nights                                     (Bowles,Laswell)              1.11

          Recorded at Muebla Itesa, Tangier, Morocco by Nicky Skopelitis, July 1994
            and Bill Laswell, February 1995
          Mixed and mastered at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
          Engineering and editing by Robert Musso
          Assistant: Layng Martine
          Produced by Bill Laswell
          Text coordination and word production by Janet Rienstra
          Coordination in Tangier: Cherie Nutting
Paul Bowles: readings; Bill Laswell: sound design.

          1995 - Meta Records (USA), MTA 9601 (CD)
          1995 - Meta Records (USA), MTA 9601 (Sp. Ed.)
          2009 - Meta Records (USA), MTA 9601 (CD)
          2017 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (digital)
Note: Both the CD and Sp. Ed. release have the same catalog number.


Bowles reads his own work, Laswell provides dark, Lullish atmospheric music for the background, and it sounds good on the first listen. But then Bowles' voice gets inside you... and it really becomes quite a remarkable listen. His voice, somewhat like Burroughs if he spent more time drinking, is captivating as he tells horrific tales of distant war-attrocities, or describes the phenomena the french call "the baptism of solitude" that infects the mind as one spends time in the Saraha. Need to track down some of his books now. The boxed version comes with a book containing beautiful photography and the prose and poetry spoken on the album, along with a brief biography.

Gerald Stevens (courtesy of The Search For Dark Matter website)


EEG turned me on to this album, and waxed somewhat poetically upon the work of Mr. Bowles, who is currently an octagenerian (which gives me an excellent excuse to use that word in a sentence). I've put the album in her with the Laswell stuff because Bill does the sonic texture behind Paul's spoken word. I would relate this album in many ways to Dead City Radio by William S. Burroughs, but it has a much more thick and sensuous feel to it. Mr. Bowles' prose is delicious, ranging from inspirational to sinister, very much grounded in the Middle East. Mr. Laswell just puts in his own three cents in subtlety. The disc is available with or without an accompanying booklet, but since I don't have the booklet, I can't tell you what's in it, so caveat emptor.

Dan Foley (courtesy of the Ambience For the Masses website)


Seems like every other month Bill Laswell comes out with another ambient collaboration. Most of these efforts I find inconsistent in that some tracks are actually overproduced in darkness. The meeting with Bowles however works from start to finish mainly because Laswell's soundscapes remain a ghostly underscore to Bowles' stories. The sound balance seems perfect, the reading well recorded and Laswell's mix in no way interferes with Bowles' salty monotone performance. As you might expect, Bowles' stories depict characters who are displaced, grotesque, lost, thirsty, and so on. Most are excerpts from longer stories. No matter, they evoke the sea, the souk, the Sahel. Nice artwork too.

Peter Lucas (courtesy of The Search For Dark Matter website)