This is an overview of tracks from albums released by META during their (still) second coming.

  1/  Mantra (Orb Remix) (edit) - Material                                     7.13
  2/  Beyond the Zero - Bill Laswell                                           9.08
  3/  Amorphous - Bill Laswell/Spiritual Beauty                                8.18
  4/  Waxing Moon - Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart                         4.58
  5/  Samadhi State (edit) - Laswell/Sanders/Laraaji/Skopelitis                6.42
  6/  Remember - Buckethead                                                    7.35
  7/  Mun Pa (edit) - Somma                                                    6.34
  8/  Lost Roads (Orchestral Suite) (edit) - Bill Laswell                      11.06
  9/  Reflection (edit) - Divination                                           6.29
  10/ Shining Stone (edit) - Rasa                                              6.59

          Produced in various locations around the world
          Conceived and Directed by Janet Rienstra
          Meta Vision: Gil Friesen
          Meta Support: Bella Rienstra
          Sequenced and mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtle Tone Studios
Bill Laswell: bass (1,2,3,5,7,8,9,10), beats (1), keyboard (3), samples (5), sounds (9,10); Zakir Hussain: tabla (1,3,8); L. Shankar: violin (1,8); Nils Petter Molvaer: trumpet (2); Nicky Skopelitis: guitars (2,5,8), electric sitar (8); Craig Taborn: electric piano (2); Karsh Kale: tabla (2), drums (2); Abu Alouf: samples (3); Sussan Deyhim: voice (3); Bill Buchen: percussion (3); Aiyb Dieng: percussion (3,8); Hamid Drake: bass drum (3); Jah Wobble: bass (4); Jaki Liebezeit: drums (4); Balugi Shrivastav: sitar (4), tablas (4); Jean-Pierre Rasle: recorder (4); Clive Bell: tampura (4), shakuhatchi (4); Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone (5); Laraaji: electric zither (5,9); Buckethead: guitar (6), piano (6), samples (6), sounds (6); Seven Tibetan Monks from Kalimpong Monastery (7): horns, bells, vocals, drums; Eraldo Bernocchi: guitars (7), electronics (7); Material Strings: strings (8); Jeff Bova: electronic keyboard (8).

          2002  -  Meta Records (USA),  MT014  (CD)


Meta Records is a new label whose focus is to release music of a more spiritual or even relaxing level. They are doing this by mixing the traditions of the past with the technology of the here and now, composed and performed by some of the best musicians and producers today.

The Meta Collection may come off as a simple compilation of music from the label's roster, but what I enjoyed about the ten songs on this CD was that they also sounded very cohesive. In other words, you can listen to the material on their own or as its own complete sound experience.

One musician that is in the majority of these songs is Bill Laswell. If you have picked up any of his projects in the last five years, you will get a feel of what The Meta Collection is all about. "Mantra" is a collaboration between Laswell, The Orb, tabla master Zakir Hussein, and Indian violinist L. Shankar. What I liked about this song is that it seems everyone respected everybody's territory. Hussein plays the tabla like the great man he is, while The Orb manage to take Indian classical music to am electronic soundscape that didn't exist until they put it together.

"Beyond The Zero" gets into a nice soulful jazz vibe, the kind of groove that even The Roots have not been able to do on wax. The synth textures in the background, mixed with the keys of Craig Taborn, almost makes you hear this song in slow motion, a factor that should prove worthy for fans of downtempo grooves.

One of my favorites songs on here is Spiritual Beauty's "Amorphous". Laswell's bass work keeps this well grounded in the funk he is known for, but the music shows shades of the Middle East in all its glory. If the words of Sussan Deykim in the second verse sound familiar, you will recognize it as that heard in M|A|R|R|S's "Pump Up The Volume". The Asana project has come out with a number of diverse collaborations, and on this CD they are highlighted with three songs, including the awesome "Samadhi State". Pharoah Sanders never sounded so beautiful on the saxophone, and here he manages to create a sound that is both sensual and spiritual, relaxing yet commanding, which what makes him a genius in my book. Buckethead's "Remember" would have worked if it wasn't for the slightly off-tempo loop in the background. The guitar and piano duet sound like a 5am sunrise, and it probably would've worked without the loop.

For those who may enjoy the more traditional side of Indian classical music, Hear No Evil's "Lost Roads (Orchestra Suite)" will be very pleasing to the ear. Because of the arrangement of the song, it sounds more Carnatic than Hindustani, and it works very well with the addition of guitar and keybaords (one wonders how this would've sounded if Vishwa Mohan Bhatt sat in).

The rest of the album ranges from meditative to ethereal. These songs might've been pulled from different sources, but they all have a sense of continuity that show that not only is the music united, but the musicians as well. While similar projects have been serious hit and miss efforts, The Meta Collection is one of the few samplers in recent memory that deserves as much praise as a regular album release. Highly recommended.

4 stars out of 5

John Book (courtesy of


"The Meta Collection" is a mix of heavy Indian ragas, deep bass and old favourites. Shifting between old Material material "Mantra" and "Lost Roads" not surprisingly fit in quite well Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart, Buckethead's simmering guitar on "Remember", the release is effectively trying to walk a thin line between eastern and western musical mentalities. Since this is meant as a meditative or a relaxing record, it's not surprising that the stands out tracks are just that overtly trance-like. Bill Laswell had a heavy hand in producing this record [and plays on nearly every track], so it's not surprising the effect is very close to the last few Material releases. Asana 3's "Samadhi State" [which features some far away and toned down tenor sax work from the great Pharoah Sanders] and "Mun Pa", which features seven Tibetan Monks from Kalimpong Monestary, are the definite stand outs. The effect is thoroughly haunting and unmistakably peaceful. Consider this a perfect record for the stress-filled work week.

Tom Sekowski (courtesy of GAZ-ETA website)