1/	The Absence of Time/Djemaa el Fna           (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           11.23
  2/	Blind Light                                 (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           11.44
  3/	Our Completion                              (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           5.59
  4/	Midnight                                    (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           11.41
  5/	The Nostalgic Ache                          (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           6.53
  6/	Clairvoyance of Self (Seeing Through)       (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           6.44
  7/	Our Completion (Ancient Evening Mix)        (Phew,Fier,Laswell)           10.39

          Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, September 1993 - December 1993
          Recording engineers: Bruce Calder, Oz Fritz, Rich Costey and Gary Rindfuss
          Produced by Anton Fier
          Mix translation and additional production: Bill Laswell
          Mix engineers: Robert Musso and Bruce Calder
          Assistant engineer: Layng Martine
          Executive Producers: Katsuo Michishita, Hideki Amano
          Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisc
          Bandcamp version remastered by James Dellatacoma at Orange Music, West Orange, NJ
Anton Fier: drums, loops, samples, effects; Bill Laswell: bass; Nicky Skopelitis: 6 & 12 string electric guitars; Knox Chandler: guitars; Aiyb Dieng: percussion; Lori Carson & Lydia Kavanagh: wordless vocals; Phew: voice.

          1994 - Alda (Japan), ALDA-001 (CD)
          2022 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (Bassmatter Subscription Exclusive)
Note: This was re-released in a 2 disc set from Tzadik called 'Dreamspeed/Blind Light 1992-1994'.


1994's Blind Light stocks up on the members of Pure-era Palominos and, pretty obviously, it sounds very similar to that album. This is far from a bad thing. The masterstroke is the title track, beginning with filtered pseudo-gabba, launching into smoking jug-huffing, drunken Caribbean organs, and lumbering 12-strings. Elsewhere, the continuity of Dreamspeed is dispensed with in favor of startling periods of silence. "Midnight" gets some 60s soul momentum going, even putting some crowd cheers in, and right when the drums should be fading in, they fade out, which isn't even possible. On "Clairvoyance of Self", the song stops for a good two or three seconds any time another instrument or effect is added. Take comfort in the fact that it would be seamless without these stops, and it's seamlessly seamed with them. You win, you win. You lose, you win. Either way, you win.

As with anything unavoidably beautiful and often low-key, there are moments that you might hear over a Starbucks speaker system. My advice: get a discount card and order a mocha. Then have sex with everyone in the room on top of velvet drapery. Then go to NYC to go see Fier jumpstart his career and reassume the reins of gorgeous atmospheric music: after many years of alleged retirement, he has recently performed with John Zorn and other old friends at Tonic in December. After two hours of this, even the lung cancer ward will be smoking.

(edited from a longer review encompassing the Dreamspeed/Blind Light Tzadik reissue - Silent Dave) Alex Linhardt (courtesy of the Pitchfork website)


This is a very dense, atmospheric companion to "Pure" by The Golden Palominos. Some of the personnel of Pure are here, but Blind Light has some other voices and instruments that Pure doesn't have. By 'companion' I mean that musical themes are revisited and reexamined here on "Absence of Time."

Any fan of Bill Laswell's various bands (eg, Material, TAZ, and the various Axiom Ambient and Axiom Funk disks) will appreciate his influence and contributions to Blind Light (another Laswell "temporary autonomous zone").

This is like a soundtrack to a science fiction movie set in Morrocco; it's at times dreamy, light, and deeply spiritual and personal, and other times claustrophobic and paranoid. An excellent latenight chillout album.

Similarly, I'd recomment finding "Dreamspeed" by Anton Fier, which is a companion album to The Golden Palominos' excellent album "This Is How It Feels."

PS take those four albums: Absence of Time, Pure, This Is How It Feels and Dreamspeed, and explore the recordings of the musicians on those albums, and you'll have a collection all your friends will want to borrow. There is an enormous span of jazz, folk, rock, funk, and world music through those portals.

A. Pasulka (courtesy of the website)