1/  Stronghold                                 (Laswell)                     1.34
  2/  Cold Rolled/Iron Dub                       (Hawkins,Laswell)             6.21
  3/  Suspension                                 (Laswell)                     2.19
  4/  Rivet                                      (Buckethead,Laswell)          5.22
  5/  Deathstar                                  (Collins)                     9.43
  6/  The Hook                                   (Laswell,Zorn)                6.17
  7/  Nine Secrets                               (Laswell)                     3.15
  8/  Crossing                                   (Worrell)                     9.43

          Recorded and mixed at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
          Engineered by Robert Musso, Oz Fritz, Bruce Calder and Matt Stein
          Assistant: Imad Mansour
          Mix engineer: Jason Corsaro
          Conceived and constructed by Bill Laswell
          Business administration/production coordination: Material, Inc./Tracy McKnight
          Subharmonic: Robert Soares
          Extra distortion: Peter Wetherbee
          Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk
Bill Laswell: bass, samples, loops, noises; John Zorn: reeds, voice(?); Buckethead: guitars, noises; Blind Idiot God (Andy Hawkins/Gabe Katz/Ted Epstein); Bootsy Collins: bass, Space Bass; Mick Harris: drums, voice; Yamatsuka Eye: voice; Bernie Worrell: keyboards.

          1993 - Toy's Factory Records (Japan), TFCK-88648 (CD)
          1993 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7002-2 (CD)


Hot off the heels of their work together as Painkiller comes this Praxis offering. Painkiller's Zorn-Harris-Laswell supergroup works within a super-supergroup featuring guitar superhero Buckethead, Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell, the Blind Idiot God trio and virtuouso howler Yamatsuka Eye.

Within seconds of listening, this album is immediately distinguished from the previous Praxis material by its berserk nature. The opener, "Stronghold", is pinned down by absolutely merciless hyperspeed drumming from Harris. If, in the distant future, a group of aging grindcore drummers gets together to reminisce on their glory days and argue who could pummel the double bass the best, Mick would be wise to have this one nearby. Doing their best to keep up with him are detuned, blurred guitar and the classic twin howl of Zorn's sax and Eye's free vocalizing.

While the well-intentioned savagery of Napalm Death returns as a motif in other pieces on Sacrifist, there are many other contributing factors. As with many Laswell-conceived releases, it's like tuning in to a radio station taken over by crazed extropians. One minute you're being harassed by a factory beat and video game noises, the next it's a low-key conversation with Bootsy Collins' space bass (his is one of two solo tracks, the other is Bernie Worrell's album-closing run of soulful Hammond organ.) Other moments include a playful hip hop tune overlaid with a monster fuzz bass riff and Yamatsuka Eye's happy shrieking, and a slow, cybernetic dub.

While there are by now a lot of similar Laswell ensemble projects, this one remains a favorite. The cast of players is like a comic book alliance of uncanny mutant noisemakers, and the care-free stylistic blending is a better illustration of 'chaos' theory than a lot of thick textbooks on the subject.

Tom K. Bailey


The second Praxis album lacks the cohesiveness of the first, becoming more like the typical 'Laswell soup' kind of project. The tight band that produced the crazy sounds on the first album is replaced by other assorted New York and Japanese avant-garde artists. As far as P.Funk goes, Bootsy and Bernie each get one song to do their thang. Both of these songs are extremely interesting, but there's not much on here otherwise that a funk fan will find interesting, unless they're into speed metal and noise.

"Stronghold" is a bit of thrash noise. "Cold Rolled" has a sort of discordant intro that also leaps into speed metal. "Suspension" has that ambient feel to it, with a bit of funk. "Rivet" features more thrash, but also has aninteresting lead guitar line from Buckethead. "Death Star" is the Bootsy extravaganza, with some deeply funky and smelly bass playing, working well with its ambient feel. The fuzz gets deep here! "The Hook" is also pretty interesting, with weird drum loops and good bass playing. "Nine Secrets" is more thrash noise. "Crossing" is Bernie organ madness, very funky, with deep-cutting grooves.

2 1/2 stars out of 5

Rob Clough (courtesy of the Motherpage website)