Disc one: Ambient 1/ Descent (Laswell) 14.53 Bill Laswell 2/ Rain Dream (Hosono) 5.47 Haruomi Hosono 3/ Ascesis (Fier) 10.04 Anton Fier w/ Lydia Kavanagh 4/ Stir (Harris) 11.17 M.J. Harris Disc two: Rhythm 5/ Tangier Space Draft (Laswell) 15.19 Bill Laswell w/ DXT 6/ Navigations (Hosono,Shimizu) 14.39 Haruomi Hosono and Yasuaki Shimizu 7/ Illuminoid Assassin (Laswell) 16.11 Bill Laswell w/ DXT Created, compiled and mastered at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York Track 4 created at Wall of Silence, UK Engineering and processing on tracks 1,2,5,6 and 7 by Robert Musso Engineering assistance and editing on tracks 1,2,5,6 and 7 by Layng Martine Engineering on track 3 by Dan Gellert Production and mix translation on tracks 1,5 and 7 by Bill Laswell Original production on tracks 2 and 6 by Haruomi Hosono Production on track 3 by Anton Fier Production on track 4 by M.J. Harris Additional production and mix translation on tracks 2 and 6 by Bill Laswell Material, Inc.: Tracy McKnight Subharmonic: Robert Soares Axiom: Bill MurphyBill Laswell (1,2,5,6,7): sounds, beats; Haruomi Hosono (2,6): sounds, beats; M.J. Harris (4): sounds; Anton Fier (3): sounds; DXT (5,7): turntables; Lydia Kavanaugh (3): vocals.
1995 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7011-02 (2CD)
I've seen the first Divination album a few times, but I've seen only one copy of this particular one; I know the third is findable. Heard the first side and didn't even bother to check out the other one. The first disc is aptly titled Ambient and massivly dreamy. I knew Mr. Laswell could do it, but having only heard Corporal Blossom, Mr. Fier surprised me [actually Corp. Blossom is Layng Martine - SW]. EEG said he'd been told he wouldn't like the second disc (titled Rhythm) so I tested it out. Behold; more shocks! Jungle tracks that I actually like! Very nice album all around, and should be domestically accessible... if there really is another copy around.
Dan Foley (courtesy of the Ambience For the Masses website)
A double CD comprising two very different, yet symbiotic agendas. The first disc, an ambient album, is perhaps one of the most beautiful works ever to have entered the world. Four tracks which relax the listener, pulling you deeper & deeper into the seductive warp & weft folds of it's construction. "Descent" by BILL LASWELL (who holds responsibility for realisation of this album) charms you with it's simple tune set against an almost New Age setting, lulling you with warm waves like the caress of a gentle lover. "Rain Dream" by HARNOMI HOSONO creates an even smoother, even warmer floatation tank drift of sound, a changing, smooth drift of dream-smoke which flows over you and saturates every pore, an intoxicating opiate of edgeless sound. "Ascesis" by ANTON FIER is the next velvet-soft zephyr to undulate along the Tympanic canal, hardly bending the cilia in it's passage. Warm humming waves with female harmonies like your favourite wet dream carry you on a journey through a landscape so wondrous it's almost cruel. MICK HARRIS concludes the journey with "Stir", a lighter, more benign driftwork than his own LULL. The mood of this track finally brings the listener to gentle rest, a long, deep, calming final descent. The gentlest lullaby whispered to the infant in the womb would seem harsh to this, a description of silt clouds flowing along a lazy, pristine-clear river bed. The second disc entitled "Rhythm" is a very different beast to the one which shares it's double CD case - "Tangier Space Drift" is a LASWELL journey into post-Break-Beat soundscape - frenetically busy drums, all manner of strange noises, a snake-belly-low bassline and creative scratching by DXT take Drum'n'Bass to a whole new level - a spatial voyage through driving, colour-saturated, clinically-scrubbed urban soundscapes. "Navigations" by HARUOMI HOSONO sounds so much like that Electro-Beat dance music CABARET VOLTAIRE were doing around the time of the "Body & Soul" album, you expect MALLINDER's voice to gyrate to the front of the mix. Having said which, this is a much more fleshed-out sound, a complicated organism of noise & ideas as compared to the CAB's music which seemed stripped to the naked rhythm, and rather lean on the ideas. One of the countless motifs sewn into the track's fabric is a high-pitched ululation, reminding one of the Native American Indian war cries heard on Fifties/Sixties Westerns - a banshee-like shriek which combines surprisingly well with the Jazz sax punctuations. An adventure through an electronic-painted landscape. The closing track on this disc "Illuminoid Assassin" returns to the Drum'n'Bass theme with a Sci-Fi journey through a series of twisting, turning rhythmic developments, fast, energetic with fragments of Jazz punctuating the autoclaved clarity while various ethnic elements - sounding 100% more natural than any DEEP FOREST/ENIGMA composites. The drums travel through an ever-changing panorama of FX, phasing, flanging, doppling them this way & that as if to test some resident ductility. DIVINATION is quite clearly as much an ongoing project for LASWELL as are both MATERIAL & PAINKILLER, and is as far apart musically from the two of them as they are from each other. This album is both intriguing ("Rhythm") and beautifully relaxing ("Ambient"), and very much a recommended purchase.
Antony Burnham (courtesy of the Metamorphic Journeyman website)
The new DIVINATION project of LASWELL, together with MICK HARRIS, HARUOMI HOSONO and others, is split down the centre and a disc of 'Ambient' and another 'Rhythm'. Disc One is aglow, just as the red, yellow, brown image burns light from the cover. Long forming frequencies rise, moving slowly as bells and strings awaken within. The final track of the four, "Stir" is the least moving, barely visible, as daylight finally diminishes. Disc Two rises quickly, disorienting as though wakening from a nightmare. Solid rhythms emerge from the scourging screams, amassing in numbers while noises wail and break away. No let up for "Navigations" either, though perhaps more soothing in it's electronic nature - even touching on trance. Lastly "Illuminoid Assassin"is a nightmare itself. Fast and frantic percussive elements drive for virtually all of its sixteen minutes. Strangely although this track also includes moments of beauty as pipes met into the frenzy. In all another fine collection in the series, although the three tracks collating 'Rhythm' far outweigh the ambience for adding a new dimension, and thus making it less of a whole than previous work.
From MFTEQ #12
I think it's safe to say that BILL LASWELL puts out more material than UWE from LASSIGUE BENDTHAUS, JUSTIN BROADRICK from GODFLESH and JOHN ZORN combined. Nothing stops this man. I suppose if half of it sucked we could blame him for not taking enough time with each release. Unfortunately, we have no such privileges, and this instalment of DIVINATION is clear cut proof of that. We get two discs here. The first is dubbed 'Ambient', while the second is entitled 'Rhythm'. The ambient CD is godlike! It isn't really bleak or uncomfortable Ambient, as one should surely stray as far away from the term 'Isolationism' as possible. It reminds me a lot of old "Still Fragments"-era VIDNA OBMANA. The tones are deep and the mood is that of a slow fluttering with no beats, voices or conventional instrumental use. The occasional odd sound effect enters then leaves as mysteriously as it arrived. This is the type of atmospheric music that actually makes you feel like you're going somewhere with it. It doesn't run along endlessly in 25 minute bursts of boredom. The 'Rhythm' disc is some kind of deep space dub adventure with Hip-Hop percussion and fat bass lines that rattle the walls. Some of the beats even wander into Jungle Techno realms, but the stop and start motif of most tracks keep it from becoming a Rave party. The dub parts aren't as traditional as LASWELL's AUTOMATON project but still kick in with enough fat dissonant bass to fill the room with shivers. This is definitely a very positive trip and about a hundred times more alive than it's Ambient brother. This is the level of quality that true BILL LASWELL fans have come to expect. Brilliant!
From INDUSTRIAL NATION #12
BILL LASWELL's Ambient output dates back at least as far as his skeletal contribution to BRIAN ENO's 1982 "On Land" album. Nowadays he's pursuing it with vigour by deconstructing / reconstructing his AXIOM label back catalogue and through releases on his SUBHARMONIC label.Far more engaging (than BILL LASWELL / TERRE THAEMLITZ's "Web") is the third DIVINATION album "Akasha" (there's already a fourth one on the way), where LASWELL is joined by M.J. (MICK) HARRIS, YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA founder HAROUMI HOSONO, ANTON FIER and DXT on turntables. This double CD has two parts: "Ambient" and "Rhythm". The latter is a foray into the rolling rhythms of drum 'n' bass, overlaid with fast-wind tapes, scratching, and - knowing LASWELL's penchant for raiding the AXIOM back catalogue - what sound like shawms that originally blasted on AXIOM's MASTER MUSICIANS OF JOUJOUKA album "Apocalypse Across The Sky". "Navigations" is a Dub/Techno/Funk extravaganza, and the last and most ludicrously titled track, "Illuminoid Assassin" is a Drum 'n' Bass/Dub amalgam where the furious beats cut out, hang in space, disappear and return condensed, crushed and subjected to all manner of studio vandalism: trumpet blasts, speedy synth lines, mellow sub-bass, cut-up voices. An audacious, brilliant set - no chance of vegging out to this. On the "Ambient" disc the players move seductively through a series of tableaux defined by discreet guitar and keyboards. FIER's percussion is like water dripping from a cave ceiling to create ripples in unseen pools. Improvisation at its most subtle is the impetus behind some of the pieces, which the players pull off empathetically. But again, some of it is so vaporised that one wonders whether LASWELL himself could tell the difference between parts of this and parts of "Web".
Mike Barnes from THE WIRE 147