Bill Laswell: Lost Roads


Lost Roads


Bill Laswell (bass, beats)


Hear No Evil (Meta Records 005)

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Bill Laswell (bass, beats), Shankar (violin, voice), Nicky Skopelitis (guitar), Zakir Hussain (tabla),

Aiyb Dieng (talking drum, percussion), Daniel Ponce (congas, percussion)


Composed by Bill Laswell


Recorded: Brooklyn and West Orange; no date given (first released in 1988)


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Bill Laswell is deservedly renowned as a musician and as a producer of some of the most diverse material you will likely ever find. Punk, funk, metal, jazz, rock, ambient and world music you name it, he's done it. As a musician, he co-composed and played on Herbie Hancock's monster hit "Rockit." As a producer, he has run the gamut and even remixed existing Miles Davis and Carlos Santana albums. The CDs from those efforts, Panthalassa and Divine Light: Reconstructions & Mix Translation, both met with great praise and/or harsh criticism. His willingness to take on such risky projects over the years speaks volumes about his musical tenacity and vision. Another of these interesting endeavors is Hear No Evil.

Classifying music is always tricky and, in some cases, ill-advised. But as a critic, I must try to help readers understand what they would hear if they were sitting here with headphones on while spouse and children scurry about the house. Sometimes, classifying and comparing are the handiest tools to do this. So in my system, "Lost Roads" would be classified as meditative Indian-jazz-trance. This is not exactly a stretch on my part as the tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and Indian violin master Shankar are two of the tune's most obvious voices. Guitarist Skopelitus, a frequent Laswell collaborator, adds gentle affected arpeggios as Laswell seems content to take a simple role. We also hear some sitar-like plucking. A Hussain solo is always reason to take notice. "Lost Roads" may be a tune in a perimeter search for a melodic theme. (To be fair, as the first cut, "Lost Roads" acts almost as an overture for the rest of the CD). But it has a pleasing enough vibe that whether this tune was 7 minutes long, as it is, or 20 minutes, you would enjoy it just the same.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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