This is a collection of ambient electronics from the now defunct Subharmonic and Strata labels.

 Disc one:
  1/  Wake The Dead                                (Praxis Three)              3.41
  2/  Warm Time Machine/Low End Transmission/      (Praxis Three)              4.07
            Over The Foaming Deep
  3/  Asiyah Dub (Blinding The Starry Eyes Of God) (Laswell,Katz)              10.59
  4/  Cold Rolled/Iron Dub                         (Hawkins,Laswell)           6.16
  5/  Agrippa                                      (Laswell)                   6.39
  6/  Morning Of Balachaturdasi                    (Laswell,Zorn,Harris)       14.31
  7/  The Hook                                     (Laswell,Zorn)              6.12
  8/  Dream Light                                  (Laswell)                   9.53
  9/  Divination One                               (Laswell)                   3.40
  10/ Inferno/Heatseeker/Exploded Heart            (Praxis Three)              9.19

 Disc two:
  1/  Astral Altar (The Gateway Of Legba)          (Laswell)                   11.39
  2/  Dead Drop                                    (Bova,Haas)                 17.29
        Cypher 7
  3/  Illuminoid Assassin                          (Laswell,Showard)           15.59
        Bill Laswell feat. DXT
  4/  Transfer Complete                            (Laswell,Thaemlitz)         17.02
        Bill Laswell and Terre Thaemlitz
  5/  The Terran Invasion Of Alpha Centauri        (Miller)                    11.20
                 Year 2794
        DJ Spooky
  6/  Maggot Dream	                           (Buckethead)                5.04
        Death Cube K

          Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
          Disc 2, track 2 recorded at Bovaland and at the Power Station, NYC
          Produced by Bill Laswell
          Disc 1, track 6 produced by John Zorn
          Disc 2, track 2 produced by Jeff Bova and Alex Haas
Bill Laswell (except d2, t2): bass, keyboards, soundscapes; Buckethead: guitar (d1 t1,2,7,10 and d2 t6); Brain: drums (d1 t1,210); Alex Haas (d2 t2): keyboards, sounds; Jeff Bova (d1, t5,8,9 and d2 t2): keyboards, sounds; DXT: turntables (d2 t3); Terre Thaemlitz: sounds (d2 t4); DJ Spooky: bass, sounds (d2 t5); Sly Dunbar: beats (d1 t3 and d2 t1); Andy Hawkins: guitar (d1 t4); Ted Epstein: drums (d1 t4); Gabe Katz: bass (d1 t3,4); Yamantaka Eye: voice (d1 t4,7); John Zorn: saxophone (d1 t7).

          2005 - Collision: Cause of Chapter 3 (Germany), CCT3001-1 (Vinyl)
          2005 - Collision: Cause of Chapter 3 (Germany), CCT3001-2 (2CD)
Note: The vinyl version contains only tracks (Disc one) 1,2 and 9 and (Disc two) 1,5 and 6 and was limited to 1,000 copies.


Bill Laswell has composed, performed, and produced just about every style of music known to man—and a few more, too. In the early 1990s, in tandem with producer John Matarazzo (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tito Puente, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Sly & Robbie), Laswell co-founded Axiom Records.

Through Axiom and its subsidiaries (including Subharmonic and Strata Records), Laswell has explored modern electronic music, including ambient, dub, and funk. This extensive and kaleidoscopic two-CD overview of Laswell's work through this period, with John Zorn, Anton Fier, Nicky Skopelitis, and other world-class musicians, embodies Axiom's mantra: "Nothing is true—everything is permitted.

"Everything is permitted except maybe editing. Three tracks on disc two clock in over sixteen minutes, while the repetitious deep space dub of "Asiyah Dub (Blinding the Starry Yes of God) on the first disc recalls an old joke about progressive-rockers Pink Floyd: Play anything slowly enough, and play it over and over long enough, and some somnambulant and cross-eyed stoner will eventually think, "Wow, that's profound, dude.

This anthology does deliver occasional glimpses into possible future musics.

"Morning of Balachaturdai by Painkiller (Laswell with saxophonist John Zorn and Mick Harris, drummer for Napalm Death) shoots out like metallic shrapnel the possibilities of combining free jazz with industrial hardcore. Its bass and drum crescendos thunder beneath Zorn's uncharted explorations, as he bleats through his own echoes like honking traffic in the supersonic passing lane. "Morning is almost a musical palindrome that doubles back upon itself, and definitely an instrumental freakout worthy of seminal jazz-rock experimentalists the Mothers of Invention. (I'd suggest that this style might be called "free industrial jazz, except the phrase sounds like it means hearing Kenny G piped in at the mall.)

The shifting cast of free funk-jazz ensemble Praxis, perhaps the most recognized of Laswell's myriad musical incarnations, includes Buckethead, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, turntablist AF Next Man Flip, and drummer Brain. Their groove-infested "The Hook explores tribal electronica, jabbed sharply with turntable scratches and a bass line dropped in from the planet of James Brown's "Licking Stick-Licking Stick.

The songs—rather, the pieces—seem programmed to progress through more and more abstract musical states. The ambient rhythm of "Dead Drop by Cypher 7 (Laswell with keyboard player Jeff Bova and guitarist/producer Alex Haas) is almost completely static, with synthesizer lines whistling melancholy as they hover in this grey rhythmic murk.

"Transfer Complete by Web (Laswell with ambient producer/DJ Terre Thaemlitz) takes the minimalism even further, a piece stripped of rhythm and of melody. It's not a song, not even music, but a soundtrack in the basic sense of the word "sound —the sound of modern alienation caged in its human machine age.

Chris M. Slawecki (courtesy of the All About Jazz website)