1/  Intime                                     (Rammellzee,Laswell)          1.11
  2/  Conspiracies                               (Thornton,Matlin,Laswell)     4.22
        Kool Keith and Kut Masta Kurt
  3/  Rodent Robots                              (Freeman,Garcia)              1.32
        Extrakd and Eddie Def
  4/  Burnin'                                    (Drayton,Laswell,Showard)     4.36
        Flavor Flav, phonosycographDISK and DXT
  5/  Who Wakes the Rooster?                     (Freeman,Garcia)              1.19
        Extrakd and Eddie Def
  6/  This Morning                               (Smythe,Smith,Smith)          3.57
        Juggaknots feat. Breeze & Queen Heroine
  7/  No Guts No Galaxy                          (Rammellzee,Laswell)          4.47
        Rammellzee and phonosycographDISK
  8/  Temple of the Mental                       (Reed,Laswell)                6.09
        Killah Priest
  9/  All That Future                            (Carson,Laswell)              5.38
        Lori Carson and Bernie Worrell
  10/ My Style Is I Ain't Got No Style           (Furlow,Laswell)              4.54
        Nature Boy Jim Kelly
  11/ Snipers for Biters                         (Freeman,Garcia)              1.46
        Extrakd and Eddie Def
  12/ Checkpoint 0.1                             (Harding)                     3.54
        Scotty Hard, Elwood and Ted Parsons
  13/ Mind Drift                                 (Taylor,Laswell)              6.06
        Ahlill the Transcending Soldier and Alicia Blue
  14/ Life Itself                                (Hassan,Laswell)              3.26
        The Ghetto Prophets and DXT
  15/ Flow                                       (Smith,Laswell)               3.53
        Alicia Blue
  16/ Freestyle Journal                          (Taylor,Laswell)              4.54
        Ahlill the Transcending Soldier, phonosycographDISK and "Bigfoot" Brailey
  17/ Hisstory                                   (Rammellzee,Laswell)          3.52
          Recorded and mixed at Orange Music Sound Studios, West Orange, NJ and at
            Greenpoint Studios, Brooklyn, NY
          Additional recording and mixing at Greene Street Recording, NYC,
            Ozone Studios, NYC and Gonervill Studios, Oakland, CA
          Engineering: Robert Musso, Scott Harding, Vassos & Paul
          Assistants:  Zach Prewitt, Prince Strickland III
          Production: Bill Laswell, Scotty Hard, Eddie Def, DXT, Hideo Tanaka,
            Mr. Len (Company Flow), Extrakd, Dark Matter and Abu El Mustafa
          Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtle Tone Studios, NYC
          Material Design: John Brown
          Axiom: Bill Murphy
          Legal: Peter Shukat
          Meta: Janet Rienstra
          Invasion: Steven Saporta
          Hyperrealization: Jeff Spirer
          Above the Law: Chris Blackwell
Bill Laswell (1,2,4,7-10,13-17): beats, bass, keyboards, samples; Rammellzee (1,7,17): rap; Kool Keith (2): rap; Kut Master Kurt (2): turntables; Extraktd and Eddie Def (3,5,11): all sounds; Flavor Flav (4): rap; DXT (4,14): turntables, keyboards; phonosycographDISK (4,7,16): turntables; Juggaknots (6): rap, vocals, beats; Killah Priest (8): rap; Lori Carson (9): vocals; Bernie Worrell (9): keyboards; Nature Boy Jim Kelly (10): rap; Ted Parsons (11): drums; Scotty Hard and Elwood (11): sounds, beats; Alicia Blue (13,15): vocals; Ahlill the Transcending Soldier (13): rap; The Ghetto Prophets (14): rap; Jerome "Bigfott" Brailey (16): drums.

          1999 - Axiom/Palm Pics./Ryko (USA), PALMLP 2019-1 (2x12")
          1999 - Axiom/Palm Pics./Ryko (USA), PALMCD 2019-2 (CD)
          1999 - Palm Pics/Ryko (Japan), VACK 1169 (CD) 


Detroit-born New Yorker Bill Laswell has been helping to shape the course of electronic music since the late 1970s. Long is his list of credits as a producer, arranger, writer, and bassist. Not content to sit around and wait for projects to come to him, Laswell has been extremely prolific. So much so, that while there are many who swear by Laswell-- attempting to purchase all releases with which he is involved in even the slightest way--there are an equal number who feel his large quantity of output leads to a lack of quality control. By 1982, Laswell had worked with a plethora of stars including Brian Eno, David Byrne, Fred Frith, Tony Thompson, Nile Rodgers, Bernard Fowler, and John Zorn; he was the first to record a young female vocalist who would go on to much commercial success-Whitney Houston. It was in 1983, ears opened to the sound heard blasting from boomboxes on the Bronx streets, that Laswell began his explorations into hip hop. The first to benefit from Laswell's excitement was Herbie Hancock. The result? The groundbreaking "Rockit". Laswell then paired Afrika Bambaataa (fresh off the success of "Planet Rock" and "Looking For The Perfect Beat") with former Sex Pistols throat Johnny Lydon to meld rap with metal on "World Destruction" later that year. Further work ensued in a variety of musical situations and genres, but Laswell stayed current with the growing hip hop scene as the years progressed--Gil Scott-Heron, Jungle Brothers, and The Last Poets all felt the Laswell touch in some way. But judging Laswell by past glories doesn't seem to satisfy the naysayers, and, in many ways makes sense. If you're only as good as your last production, how does Laswell fare today? Well, judging by the results on Material's Intonarumari, Laswell is doing quite well thank you very much. Laswell's Material, an ever-evolving collective of artists, has dabbled in hip hop before, but here he's gone beyond dancing around the subject-on Intonarumari, hip hop is the focus. The album takes its name from the noise-making machines invented by Luigi Russolo, the author of the classic 1913 essay "The Art Of Noises". Guests range from the high profile to the lesser-known: including guest MCs word wrangler Rammellzee, Kool Keith, Public Enemy's Flavor Flav, Wu Tang Clan's Killah Priest, and Company Flow's Mr. Len, vocalists Lori Carson and Alicia Blue, plus producers Kut Masta Kurt, Scotty Hard (ex of New Kingdom), Extrakd, and Eddie Def, and turntablists PhonosycographDISK and DXT (formerly DST, the man who provided the scratching on "Rockit" and went on to inspire Mixmaster Mike and many others waxworkers). Coming together under the tutelage of Laswell, they produce, for some, what is undoubtably their career highlights. From doom laden rap and heavy beats to bright vocal stylings and busy instrumental interludes, this is--track for track--a shining example of the beauty that can be wrought when collaborators bring forth their best under the correct conditions. To echo Nature Boy Jim Kelly's refrain on "My Style Is I Ain't Got No Style", yes, though there's been plenty of bandwagon-jumping when it comes to the sound, rap is still an art. And Laswell still has that mysterious it, that certain something that makes Material's Intonarumori another gem in his personally-produced musical treasure chest.

Andrew Duke (courtesy of the Cognition website)


Things sure have changed since Material (then a trio consisting of bassist/producer Bill Laswell, drummer Fred Maher and keyboardist Michael Beinhorn) released its first EP of mildly abrasive experimental art-funk in 1979. These days Beinhorn and Maher are out of the picture, and Material is just a name that Laswell gives once and a while to one of his many collaborative projects. This time out, Material is Laswell and a motley crew of rappers and DJs. The disc package is emblazoned with the defiant slogan "Rapping is still an art, " which tends to raise one's expectations somewhat. Those expectations are more or less borne out, too. As is his wont, Laswell provides instrumental settings that are dark, rhyhmically complex and bone-shakingly bass-heavy; on top of his foundational beats there are expert turntable manipulation from the likes of DXT (known to old school aficionados as Grandmaster D.ST) and phonosycographDISK, rapping by Ramm Ell Zee, Scotty Hard, Killah Priest, Flavor Flav and others, and even a cameo appearance by wispy-voiced art-pop singer Lori Carson (whose "All That Future, " a collaboration with funky keyboard legend Bernie Worrell, turns out to be one of the album's highlights). Flavor Flav is his typical off-the-wall self on "Burnin'", while Killah Priest gets arrythmically serious on the six-minute recitation "Temple of the Mental." Alicia Blue provides the aptly titled "Flo w, " and Kool Keith weighs in with "Conspiracies, " a lyrical theme that keeps returning throughout the album. The only weak point on the album comes, unfortunately, at the very end, with Ramm Ell Zee's obnoxious and stupid "Hisstory." Highly recommended overall.

Rick Anderson (courtesy of the All Music Guide by way of the Get Music website)


Material's stuff is always interesting. And, like other albums Bill Laswell has worked on that I've heard, this album has its moments of stunning perfection and a couple of tracks that either don't seem to belong or are just plain bad. This album is 90% excellent, with deeply satisfying beats and top notch rapping. Track 9 is the "out of place" track. Coming off an essentially acapella Killah Priest track talking about the street life, we have a sweet female voice singing about summer days and sleeping in the grass. Hey Bill! She ain't rappin. The bad track comes right after this, with Nature Boy just making a lot of noise. All in all, this album is great because it's Bill Laswell, a great experimenter, working with some really fantastic artists. Five stars with those two tracks removed. Definitely worth getting, for hip hop and Material fans alike.

courtesy of the All Music Guide by way of the website