BERNIE WORRELL

BLACKTRONIC SCIENCE

  1/  Revelation In Black Light                  (Worrell)                     2.24
  2/  Flex                                       (BW,BL,Sumbi,Small,Clinton)   6.03
  3/  Time Was(Events In The Elsewhere)          (BW,Collins,Clinton,Laswell)  7.20
  4/  Blood Secrets                              (Worrell)                     6.47
  5/  Dissinfordollars                           (Worrell,Clinton,Collins)     6.30
  6/  The Vision                                 (Worrell,Sumbi,Small,Laswell) 8.03
  7/  Won't Go Away                              (Worrell,Small,Laswell)       5.56
  8/  X-Factor                                   (Worrell,Parker)              11.51
  9/  Disappearance (Life After Life)            (Worrell)                     0.51

          Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York and Sorcerer Sound, NYC
          Engineering at Greenpoint: Robert Musso
          Assistant at Greenpoint: Imad Mansour
          Engineer at Sorcerer Sound: Oz Fritz for High Velocity
          Assistant at Sorcerer: Wes Naprstek
          Produced and arranged by Bill Laswell and Bernie Worrell
          Production co-ordinator: Tracy McKnight
          Mastered by Tony Dawsey at Masterdisk
Bernie Worrell: harpsicord (1), Hammond B-3 organ (2,3,4,8), mini moog (2,3,5,7), synthesizer (3,5,6,7), melodica (3), vocal (3), clavinet (5,6,7), electric piano (6); James Sumbi (All and All): vocal (2,6); Mike G.: vocal (2,6,7); George Clinton & Gary "Mudbone" Cooper: vocal (2,3,5,7); Bootsy Collins: guitar (2,5,7), vocal (2,3,5), acoustic bass guitar (6); Maceo Parker: alto saxophone (2,4,5,6,8), flute (8); Fred Wesley: trombone (2,5,6); Bill Laswell: loops (2,7), beats (2), samples (3), sound effects (5); Darryl Mack: beats (2); Debra Barsha: vocal (3); Aiyb Dieng: cowbells (3,6), chatan (5,6), talking drums (6); Tony Williams: drums (4,8); Sly Dunbar: drum loop (5,6).

Material Strings (1,7,9) arranged by Bernie Worrell, conducted by Karl Berger

          1993 - Gramavision (USA), R2 79474 (CD)
          2005 - Absord Music (Japan), ABCJ-361 (CD)
Note: There is a songwriting discrepency on tracks 3 and 7 between the booklet and the CD label. The credits from the booklet have been used here.


REVIEWS :

Produced by Bernie and Bill Laswell, whose strengths and weaknesses dominate the proceedings. Weaknesses: his only idea of a drum track is a Sly Dunbar loop supplemented by Aiyb Dieng's percussion (I wish someone would tell his talking drum to shut up), and he sprinkles samples, the Material Strings, and sound effects over everything, so his attempts at funk sound mechanical ("Time Was (Events In The Elsewhere)") and his attempts at hip-hop sound crowded ("Flex"). As a result, the best tracks are those Laswell left alone: two entended jazz improvisations featuring Maceo Parker and Tony Williams ("Blood Secrets" and "X-Factor"). Laswell's main strength is his ability to recognize and blend talent, which results in spellbinding raps from James Sumbi and Mike G. on "The Vision." He even reunited Bernie, Bootsy and George on several tracks (the best is "Dissinfordollars"), sometimes with Maceo and Fred Wesley for good measure. The P-Funk-fest fueled speculation that a full-blown Mothership reunion was around the corner - that came (sort of) with 1996's T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M..

3 stars out of 5

David Bertrand Wilson (courtesy of the Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews website)

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His status as a great team player (Parliament, Funkadelic, Talking Heads) is irrefutable, but as a solo artist, Worrell is strictly hit-or-miss. For all the moments that Blacktronic Science meshes and hits undeniable grooves, it's undone by bad ideas and a tendency to be too eclectic. Worrell has surrounded himself with a superb band (Bootsy, Mudbone Cooper, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Tony Williams), but what they need is to follow a leader with a vision like George Clinton (who makes an appearance here) or James Brown. Worrell tries hard, but comes up with pseudo-soundtrack sludge like "Revelation In Black Light" or fake jazz like "Blood Secrets..." The P-funkin' of "Dissinfordollars" really takes off and gives you the impression that, had this been a Clinton project, it might have been meatier, more fun and more focused.

John Dugan (review courtesy of the Get Music website originally from the All Music Guide)

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This is a truly brilliant album, probably the best P.Funk album released between 1983-95. There were a number of bold experiments on here that worked out extremely well. Bill Laswell does an excellent job of mixing and matching talent on here, bringing in clever rappers Mike G and James Sumbi, monstrous drummer Tony Williams, and percussionist supreme Aiyb Deng. Perhaps he deserves the most credit for bringing George Clinton in to work with Bernie and Bootsy once again; when these three work together, it's magic. Musically, this album completely succeeds in fusing funk, jazz, hip-hop and classical music into something coherent, interesting and unique. Bernie is the mastermind behind it all, effortlessly floating from style to style, showing his skill at the most delicate of musical forms, and then funking it up like a maniac. Clinton brings in all sorts of wacky lyrical concepts, with hook after interesting hook. Bootsy stays in the background a bit more, though he has hismoments on guitar and standup bass (!). Although this album is very funky and danceable at certain points, it is also extremely dense and may require a few listens to get into completely, but it's worth it.

"Revelation..." is a majestic harpsichord piece, establishing a theme and feel to the album. "Flex" is an excellent funk/hip-hop piece. Clinton's lyrical chants are among his best, with the memorable 'Let the shakin` begin righthere/You be standing in the epicenter'. The horn bursts from Fred & Maceo are the perfect balancer for the loop track, Bernie's keys are smoking here, as he takes several brief solos. "Time Was" is one of the most inspired uses of a sample that I've ever heard. Using his own "Aqua Boogie", he creates an interesting concoction, playing new keyboard parts over it as Deng increases the heat with a funky cowbell. The lyrics, echoing Clinton's "Martial Law", are also excellent. "Blood Secrets" is a jazzy instrumental, weaving in Tony Williams' astounding drumming, the ever-funky Maceo blowing his sax, and Bernie holding it all together. "Dissinfordollars" is another funk/hip-hop masterpiece which happily features 'Worrell-Clinton-Collins' as its writing credit. Bernie's clavinet is truly ultra-funky here, with Bootsy providing guitar flavor, chanking away. George's singing and vocals are some of his best, slipping in a bit of the unreleased song "Niggerish" in, with the line 'suck my dick and make it puke' amusingly slowed down to unrecognizability. "The Vision" has a mellow acid-jazz flavor, with restrained rapping and excellent acoustic bass from Bootsy. "Won't Go Away" is a funky and tuneful piece, with a classical feel over the beats. Bootsy plays some graceful guitar. "X-Factor" is a jazz epic, starting with a breathy Maceo flute solo, continuing with more amazing play from drummer Tony Williams, and Bernie once again soloing and holding it all together. This piece holds your attention throughout its considerable length. "Disappearance" is a graceful closing piece, echoing back to the first song.

4 1/2 stars out of 5

Rob Clough (courtesy of the Motherpage website)