BILL LASWELL/JONAH SHARP
1/ Zurvan Akarana (Laswell,Sharp) 30.17
2/ Aion (Laswell,Sharp) 32.00
Created at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
Engineering: Robert Musso
Assistant Engineer: Layng Martine
Produced and arranged by Jonah Sharp and Bill Laswell
Artwork for Bandcamp re-release by Yoko Yamabe @ Randesign
Material, Inc.: Tracy McKnight
Subharmonic: Robert Soares
Axiom/Ambient: Peter Wetherbee/Bill Murphy
Bill Laswell: sounds, bass; Jonah Sharp: sounds; Robert Musso: programming.
1994 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7006-2 (CD)
2016 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (digital)
Firstly, a bit of background, just to put my review into perspective. I'd never heard Bill Laswell until I bought 'Psychonavigation 1' (with Pete Namlook), which I thought was excellent. and subsequently bought 'Psychonavigation 2', which was even more excellent, even if it is darned spooky and weird (but that's the point!). So now I've bought 'Cymatic Scan' (with Tetsu Inoue) and this album, 'Visitation' with Jonah Sharp. I'm not familiar with Jonah Sharps work either, though I am aware of his reputation as Spacetime Continuum. So, to get to the point, I'm reviewing this album on it's own merits and can't really compare to any other works by either of these two. Zurvan Akarana - The track opens with a deep bass rumble like distant thunder and a wonderful, floaty, electronic melody. This melody, twisting and turning, goes on to form the backbone of the track for the next half hour. The opening impression conjures visions of a pink dusky sky, with UFOs visible across the far horizon. At around 6 minutes, alien distortion fx are becoming apparent and then Laswells dub bass comes in. The whole effect at this point is, to me, reminiscent of 'UFOrb'. Beautiful warm sunset synths then come in, creating a warm bubble of sound. The track builds up, with these previous warm elements mixing in with, and dropping out from, the electronic fx, guttural alien voice processes and shambling shamanic percussion which follow. An ambience for the forthcoming Visitation is achieved, with occasional pensive sections and hints at darkness to follow. This all crescendos at around 24 minutes with a roaring wind/noise battering in and taking over for a couple of minutes before the storm ends, the bass and other sounds now fade out and return to the chilled environment from the beginning of the track. Aion - Suddenly. the pleasantness is over. The listener awakens inside the mothership, a cold, dark, metallic place. Be afraid. The pulsing of the alien hive mind can be heard, very menacing and very alien. A tour of the vessel follows, taking the listener through darkened chambers and corridors. At intervals, the pulsing of the hive mind reaches a high pitched intensity (and accompanied by sensations of horror) before subsiding again. At around half way through, slow and moody beats come in. This track could be described as "monochrome" - I don't really like that description, but I think that people will know what is meant. From what I have heard, I think this has a fairly typical Laswell 'dark ambient' stamp on it. Music for unrequested surgery by xenomorphs. Overall, although this album won't appear as one of my desert island discs, it is a solid and entertaining album. It's certainly made me interested in acquiring further works by both artists. (A minor point of little interest - the first track is 32 minutes, and the second track is around 30 minutes and 17 seconds, in apparant contradiction to the sleeve. And does anyone know what these track titles mean?).