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ROIR Dub Sessions

Bill Laswell

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Album Review

Few American record labels have done more to further the cause of modern dub than New York's ROIR imprint, which has not only reissued classic dub recordings, but also actively encouraged contemporary artists to reinterpret the tradition according to their own vision. And since bassist and producer Bill Laswell is among the most prolific and original modern exponents of dub, it was inevitable that the two would find their way to each other. Laswell has recorded four albums of progressive dub under his own name for ROIR, and this retrospective collection brings together one track from each of them to make a more-or-less full-length compilation. At just over 46 minutes, the program is a bit skimpy, but it does sell at budget price, and there's certainly no arguing with the quality of the content. The first track, which comes from the least interesting of his four Dub Chamber albums, is the most ambient and the least compelling, though it is very pretty. "Thunupa" livens things up considerably by incorporating the ethereal cornet sounds of Graham Haynes, the drumming of reggae legend Style Scott, and the tabla playing of Bill Buchen. "Cybotron" is a collaboration with fellow bass master Jah Wobble, guitarist Nicky Skopelitis and others, and is simultaneously spacier and funkier. "Ethiopia/The Lower Ground," featuring vocals by the Ethiopian singer Ejigayehu "GiGi" Shibabaw, is one of the most rapturous, lovely compositions in the Laswell catalog. This album would make a fine introduction to Laswell's work for ROIR, but you really need to own all four albums (or at least the last three).

Biography

Born: 12 February 1955 in Salem, IL

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A longtime linchpin of the New York City underground music scene, Bill Laswell has been among the most prolific artists in contemporary music; as a performer, producer, and label chief, his imprint is on literally hundreds of albums, the majority of them characterized by a signature sound fusing the energy of punk with the bone-rattling rhythms of funk. Born on February 12, 1955, in Salem, IL, he initially played guitar, but soon switched to bass; raised primarily in the Detroit area, he honed his...
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ROIR Dub Sessions, Bill Laswell
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