Friday, 26 January 2018

Help save Orange Music Studio

Attention all music lovers and patrons of the arts! We urgently need your assistance!

In an era where music, among other creative endeavors, has been devalued as mere “content,” freely accessed through the new digital medium, the very survival of those who create music and art and culture has been threatened. Bassist, iconic producer, and sonic visionary Bill Laswell becomes the latest legendary talent to fall victim to the vagaries of these crazy times. Beset by health problems while trying to navigate this harsh and uncertain economic landscape, Laswell is struggling to maintain Orange Music, the legendary New Jersey studio that he as helmed for the last 20 years. He is putting the call out to all fans, friends, and fellow artists alike: If you can help, please do so now. No contribution is too small.

As an artist and producer, Bill Laswell really needs no introduction. Though he has operated largely out of view of the pop charts, he has managed to collaborate with the giants in practically every genre of music—from Miles Davis to Mick Jagger to Bob Marley to name but a few. At the peak of his commercial success, he even produced the Grammy-award winning hit “Rock It” for Herbie Hancock in 1983, one of the first songs that helped hip-hop crossover to the mainstream. At this point, he could have moved to L.A. and cashed in, but he chose to stay in New York and later, New Jersey, and keep it real. In doing so, he displayed his very real commitment to the underground.

Orange Music, the studio Bill moved to in 1998 after getting priced out of rapidly-gentrifying Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has a storied history of its own. Supposedly built in the late 60s for Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, it was originally called Vantone Studio. In the 70s, groups like Jethro Tull, Humble Pie, Brooklyn Bridge, and Carole King recorded there. In the 80s, the studio was renamed Grand Slam Studios and hosted such luminaries as Aerosmith and George Benson. When Laswell took over the studio, he brought with him his international cast of colorful characters, producing such artists as Tabla Beat Science, Sly & Robbie, Matisyahu, Bernie Worrell, and the inimitable Lee “Scratch” Perry. As a maverick in his field, he has always supported other independent artists, who, like himself, are striving for something further, deeper, and true. That’s why he allows other artists and independent labels to use the studio at reduced rates. So many stand to lose if Bill cannot hold onto Orange Music.

Bill’s entire career is a powerful statement of art over commerce. Money has never been an issue, but Bill now needs your help.


Friday, 29 September 2017

Data.Wave #15 - Interview with Bill Laswell

You can read a transcript of the interview here

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay


24 March 1938  • 5 September 2017


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Las/wɛl/ kuh m-plee-tist /ˈse·ries | 06

Niels & the New York Street Percussionists


[kuh m-plee-tist]
a person who attempts to complete a collection or set,
especially a collector who wants to collect an example of every item in a particular field:

The idea of the com·plet·ist series was to post rare or hard to find Bill Laswell releases but now Laswell is re-releasing his back catalogue himself via bandcamp this series will  probably come to an end even though I haven't been posting much lately anyway. Not a big fan of the corporate approach i.e. not giving original release dates and changing the covers that give the impression that the releases are new music. Yoko Yamabe gives Laswell's reason here.

1. Uman
2. Dream in Steam
3. Mess-Age
4. The Crowd
5. 3-D-ID
6. Raw War
7. Autodidact
8. The Void

Niels Jensen • Vocals, Dobro
Peter Brötzmann • Tenor Saxophone
Robert Musso • Keyboards
Bernie Worrell • Keyboards
Nicky SKopelitis • Fairlight
Bill Laswell • Bass
Jamal Evans • Buckets, Metals

Produced By Jonas Hellborg
Recorded and mixed at The Gates of Hell, Brooklyn,
New York by Oz Fritz and Jonas Hellborg

Label: ITM Records – ITM 1453
Format: 320
Country: Germany
Released: 1990
Genre: Jazz, Rock
Style: Jazz, Rock

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Bill Laswell Remembers Bernie Worrell

In the early 1980s, I started working with a lot of the musicians from Parliament-Funkadelic. In P-Funk there were some very high-level players: Maceo Parker, who’s very versatile; Jerome Brailey; Eddie Hazel; Fred Wesley. A lot of them were very open and trying to branch out into many areas. But Bernie Worrell was at the top of that pyramid, with a classical background, and perfect pitch, and his rhythmic sense. He was an original.

He was probably the one I did the most work with, and in a lot of pretty diverse areas. I was always conscious of taking him out of this funk-musician mode for which he was best known and putting him with other kinds of musicians in challenging situations. A great deal of that was just having him play on a session that you wouldn’t ordinarily connect with Bernie Worrell. And not just the stuff he did with Talking Heads or Keith Richards, or even the brief moment he was in Paul Shaffer’s band on David Letterman. You’d see him playing with Pharoah Sanders, or Zakir Hussain, or Fela Kuti, or Manu Dibango—the possibilities were endless. We applied this kind of thinking to the solo records I produced for him, too. We worked out ideas for what would be good for his current concept as well as for his evolution, his development.

 Read more:

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Arto Lindsay

It's been awhile, always interested in what Arto Lindsay has to offer. Good to see that Melvin Gibbs is on board  as well as Thiago Nassif whose album I posted here a few months ago.
There are more preview tracks on youtube but I'm going to wait as I have already pre-ordered the album on bandcamp.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Arthur Blythe • Lenox Avenue Breakdown

Arthur Murray Blythe

(July 5, 1940 – March 27, 2017)


I am not just avant-garde. I like to play all types of music… I like music with form, not atonal or aform… Sometimes they put me into a weird bag and want me to be weird, inaccessible. I think I am accessible.


From an All About Jazz interview: 



Forget what you've heard about Arthur Blythe, because it only gets in the way. Forget his outré all-star projects of the eighties, and even his In The Traditional material - Blythe was never in any cubby hole long enough to earn any labels. And unline fellow West Coaster Horace Tapscott, who opted to stay in California and, thus, has yet to get his share of the limelight, Blythe arrived at the New York loft scene in `73 to a flurry of acclaim and barbs alike. Forget those too.
"Lenox Avenue Breakdown", recorded in `79, the same year as "In The Tradition", and ostensibly Blythe's most successfully listenable album, is anything BUT traditional. It's a unique melange to which Blythe never really returned, mostly thanks to the unusual nature of this septet. In fact, only the title tune really dwells on the clear-eyed jazz flats. The way the carefully-wrought melody plays over an almost lackadaisical pace points at a certain debt to composer Muhal Richard Abrams, or at least a similar that school - something which crystallized during Bob Stewart's Languid tuba solo. Abrams always has a special place for a tuba, and Blythe makes excellent use of it.
The Afro-Caribbean groove of "Down San Diego Way" apparently has flautist James Newton right at home - he gets lots of space to wail, to play a little game of keep-away with Blythe, who, in turn, is characteristically intense, burgeoning, clean-as-a-whistle. Blythe is also in good spirits on the swaggering 7/4 "Slidin' Through," swinging tautly along.
in fact, the only stumble comes on "Odessa", where drummer Jack DeJohnette takes his crash-banging one step too far and the whole affair becomes merely adversarial as the band tries to get it's riff out behind James "Blood" Ulmer's free-thrashing solo. Oh well. "Lenox Avenue Breakdown" is even likeable in its failures: always brash, always changing, and as good a place as any to start in blythe's discography. If you just can't leave those expectations at the door, well, just be prepared for a little shakeup.
Jeff Morris

1. Down San Diego Way
2. Lenox Avenue Breakdown
3. Slidin' Through
4. Odessa

Arthur Blythe • alto saxophone
James Newton • flute
Bob Stewart • tuba
James "Blood" Ulmer • guitar
Cecil McBee • bass
Jack DeJohnette • drums
Guillermo Franco • percussion

Produced by Bob Thiele

Label: Columbia – JC35638
Format: 320
Country: US
Released: 1979
Genre: Jazz
Style: Avant-garde Jazz

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Paranoise • Constant Fear

Get your combat boots out, and grab your jazz and prog encylopedias while your at it. It would not hurt to anchor the ceramics in your home before you elevate the volume to two and a half, either.
Paranoise were a New York band from the 1980s. Listening, you can hear a lot of James White--check out the sax--and those dissonent little structres you hear in DNA.
But those New York bands came out of punk- albeit the most arty end of it. James White uses avant jazz shadings, but works to maintain the flatness of 1970s do it yourselfism. DNA kept their tracks minimaliazed to leave their no wave credentials in tact.
Paranoise embraces avant-gaurd 1970s loft jazz in full force. A lot of these musicians are on this album, and this band does not try to hide a much more sophistacted pool of influcences, some of which were almost antithetical to the New York underground of the time.
There is no smallness or punk amaturism to this music. The dissonent intervals this band uses derive from free jazz and the left wing of progressive rock; Albert Ayler and Pharroh Sanders, Vander Gaff Generater and Henry Cow come to mind, in impulse if not actual sound.
The sound here is far bigger and a lot more dangerous than 1960s free jazz or 1970s progressive rock. Made in the 80s, Constant Fear uses electric drums and heavy electronicly generated basslines. The production gives the music that hugeness that early digital recording allowed so many 80s albums. If you can picture the most dissonent 70s prog pumped on 80s steriods, you get Paranoise.
Amazon Review

1. Armageddon
Anthony Jackson • Contrabass Guitar
Steve Elson • Baritone Saxophone
Lenny Pickett • Tenor Saxophone

2. Suffocation
Luther Thomas • Alto Saxophone

3. The Plague
Luther Thomas • Alto Saxophone
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone

4. Carburetor
Luther Thomas • Alto Saxophone
Don Cherry • Trumpet
Percy Jones • Fretless Bass

5. Cut It Out
Lenny Pickett • Tenor Saxophone
Steve Elson • Baritone Saxophone

6. Roll Groover
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone
Anthony Jackson • Contrabass Guitar

7. Constant Fear
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone
Percy Jones • Fretless Bass

8. Fight The Power
Joy Askew • Backing Vocals
Nikki Gregoroff • Backing Vocals

9. Forget About The Earth / This Is Where It's At
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone
Don Cherry • Trumpet, Clay Whistle
Percy Jones • Fretless Bass
Spirit Ensemble • Percussion

Micky Ortiz • Lead and Backing Vocals
Jim Matus • Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Programming, Horn Arrangements
Lloyd Fonoroff • Drum Programming, Backing Vocals

Produced by Jim Matus and Lloyd Fonoroff

Label: Antilles New Directions ‎– ANCD 8737
Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 1988
Genre: Rock
Style: Rock, Jazz