1/  Habana Transmission #1/                    (Laswell)                     4.57
      Avisale A Vecina Dub
  2/  Para Clave Y Guaguanco                     (Hernandez)                   3.04
  3/  Loungin With F.E.                          (Emilio)                      1.09
  4/  Chacon and Daniel                          (Laswell)                     4.26
  5/  Dejala En La Puntica                       (Hernandez)                   2.21
  6/  Habana Transmission #2/                    (Laswell)                     4.39
      Cuban Evolution
  7/  Los Ibellis                                (Laswell,Ibellis)             6.37
  8/  Habana Transmission #3/                    (Ibellis)                     4.44
      Shango Sound Scan
  9/  Hombre Lobo, No! Hombre Nuevo, Si          (Laswell)                     3.48
  10/ Guerillero Heroico [El Che Vive!]          (Laswell)                     3.33
  11/ Shango                                     (Ibellis)                     1.15
  12/ Pompa At the House                         (Pompa)                       1.53
  13/ Madre No Me Pida In Dub                    (Planas)                      3.37
  14/ Chaos In the Heat [Last Transmission]      (Laswell)                     4.49
  15/ Drafting Shadows/                          (Laswell)                     6.34
      Leaving Habana [Peaceful]

          Studio, Home and Street Recordings in Havana
          Engineering: Oz Fritz
          Additional Recording by Bill Laswell
          Produced and arranged by Bill Laswell
          Pre Production and Coordination in Havana: Rodolfo Chacon Tartabull and
            Daniel Laine
          Production assistance: John Brown and Bill Murphy
          Executive Producer: Paddy Maloney
Bill Laswell: bass, beats, mix translations; Transformation of recorded performances by - Los Ibellis, Clave Y Guaguanco, Tata Guines, Frank Emilio, Raul Planas, Guillermo Pompa, Septeto Nacional and others.

          1999 - Wicklow/BMG (USA), 09026-63514-2 (CD)
          2016 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (digital)


Bill Laswell, _Imaginary Cuba: Deconstructing Havana_ (Wicklow) Upon the release of 1999īs _Havana Mood_, one couldnīt quite shake suspicions of bandwagon-hopping, given the unprecedented success of Ry Cooderīs Buena Vista Social Club project. Usually in the forefront of unearthing and recording grizzled ancients from around the globe, Bill Laswellīs trip to the island seemed somewhat dampened by the spray of Cooderīs mighty wake. Whatever the reason, that double CD - a "straight" session documenting the sixty-year-old Septeto Nacional and an ambient mix translation of same - still amounted to a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. With _Imaginary Cuba_, Laswell revisits the clubs and barrios of Havana, ambitiously transforming recorded performances by the Septeto and a handful of other virtuosi into an hour-long Afro-Caribbean suite. In fact, this mix translation succeeds in topping the "Rhum and Bass" of _Havana Mood_, offering a broader palette of sound and colour. Alternating heavily tweaked studio sessions overlayed with his own bass playing, sampling and electronics, with what sounds like straight field recordings, Laswell interweaves impressions of time and place with a steady hand. Acoustic guitar riffs are looped over percussion jams, chants echo throught the alleyways, the rich croonings of Raul Planas are imbedded in deep, dark dub, all of which is deconstructed until the one snapshot fades out and a new one emerges. A quick peek through saloon doors reveals Frank Emilio tickling the ivories in a brief rendition of "Stars Fell on Alabama", a big hit for Jack Teagarden in 1934, a nod perhaps to the mutual influence American and Cuban popular music have exerted on each other throughout the decades. Laswell rounds off his travelogue with the invigorating drumīnībass flailing of "Chaos in the Heat" before he bids Havana farewell with a pastoral ambient collage featuring liquid bass lines, suitably subtitled "Peaceful".

Stephen Fruitman