1/  Internal Revolt                            (Gluck,Laswell)               5.34
  2/  Holiday in Guantanamo                      (Gluck,Laswell)               5.54
  3/  Let Your Body Take Control                 (Gluck,Laswell)               6.11
  4/  Resculpted Flesh                           (Gluck,Laswell)               5.21
  5/  The Only Way To Go Is Down                 (Gluck,Laswell)               7.39
  6/  The Unfathomable Depths Where Dreams Lie   (Gluck,Laswell)               6.14
  7/  Torture Photos                             (Gluck,Laswell)               6.45
  8/  Unforgiven                                 (Gluck,Laswell)               5.28
  9/  Real Recognise Real                        (Gluck,Laswell)               5.34

          Recorded and mixed at Orange Music Sound Studio, West Orange, New Jersey
          Engineered by Robert Musso
          Assistant: James Dellatacoma
          Additional editing: Mark Filip
          Produced by Bill Laswell and Submerged
          Mastering: Michael Fossenkemper at Turtletone Studios, NYC
          Herself: Noelle Reifel
          Pizza Trophy: Grandmixer DXT
          Robo Swarez: Robert Soares
Bill Laswell: bass, sounds; Submerged: sounds, beats; Guy Licata (3,5,7): drums; Toshinori Kondo (4,6): trumpet; Enduser (9): sounds.

          2006 - Sublight Records (Canada), SLR1301 (CD)


Looking at the names involved in this project, you'd expect a non standard record: I won't waste words about Bill Laswell, but maybe I should remember that Submerged is an underground drum'n'bass producer who released on the most obscure labels, collaborating with Scorn/Quoit (no less!) before approaching Ad Noiseam and Sublight. Method Of Defiance is allegedly the first collective to play instrumental breakcore, and with great success. The drummer, Guy Licata, is a fuckin' monster, he’s got the skills to compete with any software geek in beat mangling, reaching easily two hundred BPM’s. Above an intense storm of drums, I am also astonished by the other players, the bass arrangements reach infinite complexity, here and there are notable appearances of horns, while distorted guitars and abrasive synths battle one against each other, it's often hard to distinguish what is being played. A crucial feature of this record is precisely the complete fusion between instrumental and software generated music: there's a drummer who plays breaks inspired by electronic artists who themselves sampled drum-loops from famous funky drummers, a spooky producer who wants to emulate the brutality of heavy metal and a bass player whose aim is to damage subwoofers severely. The final result is total rawness; take for example, “Holiday In Guantanamo,” or “Torture Photos,” there's no chance but surrendering to the heavyweight artillery unleashed by the trio. There are also a couple of moments where the beat slows down, but don't expect to relax, because gloomy atmospheres and screeching trumpets won't relieve the tension. The Only Way Is To Go Down is a harsh wall of sound built with talented intricacy; it's for sure one of the most original and fresh works coming from Sublight in a while.

Luca Miani (courtesy of the Igloo Mag website)


No doubt the offspring of their first run-in Brutal Calling (2004), the second effort co-piloted by bassist/producer Bill Laswell and dark hop beat maniac Submerged (Kurt Gluck) now has a name. As a live act, Method of Defiance features drummer Guy Licata, but once in the studio his services were only required on one-third of the nine tracks. And while Brutal Calling received a somewhat inexplicably lukewarm reception, this outing has been greeted with praise.

In contrast to Brutal Calling, which featured no other input than that of the duo itself, frequent Laswell collaborator Toshinori Kondo adds trumpet to two tracks, while lesser-known soundsquisher Enduser makes the most of his one-track cameo (I´d guess his are those backward-sounding bongos on the final track).

[As an aside, pre-release press claimed that vocalist Dr. Israel, Bob Belden, and guitarist Buckethead would also feature, but with the exception of a "thanks" to Belden, none of them are mentioned in the liner notes. ´Tis a puzzlement.]

This is very much an in-your-face drum´n´bass mutation, challenging in its incessant drive, its provocative titles ("Holiday in Guantanamo", "Torture Photos"), and the ugliest cover art of the new millennium.

Submerged has nothing to prove in this genre, having issued countless tracks on darkhop/broken beat compilations and his own premium label Ohm Resistance. It is in fact Laswell who is out on a limb here, the one with the reputation to protect, but he acquits himself admirably in the genre, keeping the bass running fast and low and performing his usual masterful "mix translation" of the whole thing. Kondo takes centre stage as he appears to rip at the fabric of his very inner being and press it through the bell of his trumpet on "Resculpted Flesh" accompanied by gruesomely attractive bass and a quasi-cowbell beat. Not entirely dissimilar to what Kondo, Laswell and Eraldo Bernocchi cook up as Charged, but different enough to sound fresh. On his second showcase "The Unfathomable Depths Where Dreams Lie", Kondo is in a bubblier mood, while Laswell is in a fuzzier one.

A strong debut for the latest Laswell supergroup.

Stephen Fruitman (courtesy of the Sonomu website)