1/ Nothing (Laswell,Carson) 13.03 2/ Kala (Coil,Carson) 13.06 3/ Kashi (Inoue,Carson) 7.19 4/ Above the Earth (Laswell,Carson) 11.19 Recorded in Banares, India by Bill Laswell Additional recording at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York Engineer at Greenpoint: Robert Musso Computer Treatments: John Brown Produced by Bill Laswell Concept by Janet Rienstra, Luma ProductionsLori Carson: vocals; Bill Laswell (1,4): sound collages; Trilok Gurtu (1): tablas; Coil (2): sound collages; Tetsu Inoue (3): sound collages.
1997 - Sub Rosa (Belgium), SR114 (CD)Note: This was reissued together with the Hashisheen release 'The End of Law' in a 2CD slipcase at a reduced price. There are no added tracks.
Carson voice, as though she's speaking under her breath, is captured beautifully, and decorated prettily, never overwhelmed by the percussion, bass, sitar (or coral sitar), chanting, synthesized guitar, ambient sounds, and gently swirling electronics (fresh and tasteful). Trilok Gurtu turns in some wonderful tabla playing on the first of the four cuts, but other than him and Carson and Laswell, I don't know the list players and they aren't identified by instrument.
Carson is heard on about half of each cut, the rest a rich, gentle, shifting ambient tapestry of rhythms and sounds. It is music that nearly evaporates into nothingness with something in the neighborhood of perfection. (slightly edited - visit The American Reporter's website for the full text - SW)
Martin Wiskol (courtesy of the American Reporter )
Been meaning to review this one for quite some time. It's taken a long time to procure a copy but I finally managed to score one. Sub Rosa have got shocking distribution within Australia and as a rule their releases are not easy to access. I have read mostly not so positive reviews about this release by Bill Laswell, along the lines of this being an armchair Banares, that it has very little to do with India, that he needs to sit back and not do so much etc etc etc. I only have one gripe with this release. At forty four minutes it's far too short. Surely we could have been given more. There are four pieces here, all very ambient and atmospheric. Firstly let me say that the tabla work by Trilok Gurtu on Nothing is some of the best I have heard in ages. Very dynamic and powerful playing. While this is happening the flute weaves its magic around the drone of the tambouras. Great stuff. Lori Carson speaks poetry over the tracks and thankfully she keeps it short.
Another wonderfully evocative track is Kashi, whereby Tetsu Inoue shows once again that he is a tour de force within the electronic music scene. Lots of slowly unfolding electronic patterns of sound over a chant.Throw in the sound of a santoor and you get something resembling magic. This reminds me of some of the earlier Eno, like Evening Star. It's all very trance inducing and I'm a sucker for this sort of thing.
The last track is a mantra sung repeatedly, over electronics and tablas and Laswell's bass. I don't disagree with all the criticisms I have read re this project, but at the same time I get a lot out of this. As a project I think it is very interesting. As a statement of Indian music, forget it but as I said earlier I don't feel Laswell has set out to do this in the first place. I don't believe Bill Laswell would really bother. Let's be honest, there is enough material out there on the shelves that is the real thing. Ultimately what Laswell has achieved is a state of mind and this for me is the real strength in this recording. Having been fortunate enough to have spent time in Banares, I can relate to what Laswell is trying to achieve. The city is mystical, spiritual and contains a depth to it that I have never encountered anywhere else. Some places are power spots; you go there to recharge your soul. Banares is one such place for me and this recording reminds me of this. I love this and full marks to Laswell and his gang for putting it out. Even though it is a tad short.
Hans Stoeve (courtesy of the Nadabrahma website)