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Dub Chamber 3

Bill Laswell

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Album Review

There's no doubting Bill Laswell's sincere love of dub (the reggae subgenre that anticipated remix culture by about 20 years). As one of the finest and most tasteful bass players on the planet, Laswell's grounding in reggae is evident in every note he plays, and his mystical, experimental production style has always been heavily influenced by such dubmasters as King Tubby, Scientist, and Lee "Scratch" Perry. But for all of the experimentalism (and sometimes downright abrasiveness) of many of his projects, he has been fairly criticized in the past for getting mushy when he gets into an explicitly dubwise context. Most notoriously, he managed to squander a great opportunity when he turned an entire album's worth of classic Bob Marley material into soupy multi-culti muzak. But the third volume in his Sacred System trilogy (called, confusingly, Dub Chamber 3) is more muscular than some of his other dubwise excursions, and although there's not much here to challenge the mind, the dreamy flavor of this music is consistently fortified by sturdy beats and Laswell's inimitably tasty basslines. The album consists of four long tracks; on all of them, he's joined by guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, and two of them also feature the playing of Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, whose treated trumpet gives everything a beautiful, eerie sheen. Other guests include bassist Jah Wobble, percussionist Karsh Kale, and pianist Craig Taborn. Recommended.

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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Dub Chamber 3, Bill Laswell
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