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Down By Law

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Album Review

One of Bill Laswell's many projects, Deadline is a collaboration with drummer Phillip Wilson — not without the usual Laswell cohorts, of course. Down By Law is an interesting blend of industrial DMX beats and live percussion, African influences and Western funk. Saxophonist Manu Dibango pops up on half of the tracks and invokes memories of his Laswell-produced album Electric Africa.

The killer track on this album is the ten-minute-plus "Makossa Rock," which combines clever, funky rhythms, an irresistible synth bassline, Steve Turre's haunting didgeridoo, scratching-like sounds by Laswell and Robert Musso, plus solos by Dibango, bluesman Paul Butterfield on harmonica, and bass legend Jaco Pastorius. Actually, this track is so good it could play forever. The other tracks, including the abstract, percussive pieces "Gammatron" (reminding of Material's "Heritage") and "Doo Rot," never let go of their fierce rhythmic edge either. While "Makossa Rock" may be worth the price of the album alone, the other tracks should not be neglected.

Down By Law, Deadline
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