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One Down

Material

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Album Review

One Down marked a distinct shift in sound for Material, the avant-garde downtown pickup group organized around bassist Bill Laswell and keyboardist Michael Beinhorn. The edgy experimentalism that characterized earlier efforts like Temporary Music and Memory Serves is downplayed here in favor of funk and disco tunes delivered with a minimum of weirdness. Sure, it sounds dated but that doesn't make it less attractive. Laswell is a master of funk bass, and with guests like drummer Yogi Horton, guitarist Nile Rodgers and singers Nona Hendryx and Whitney Houston (just before she became a superstar on her own), he didn't really have much chance to go wrong. Highlights include"Take a Chance" and the strutting "I'm the One"; if you want something a little more challenging, check out Archie Shepp's squalling sax solo on the Houston vehicle "Memories." This is straight-ahead turn-of-the-80s funk at its old-fashioned best from the folks you'd have least suspected of harboring such sympathies.

Biography

Formed: 1979 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s

One of the most high-profile projects of the endlessly prolific bassist and producer Bill Laswell, Material pioneered a groundbreaking fusion of jazz, funk, and punk that also incorporated elements of hip-hop and world music well before either's entrance into the mass cultural consciousness. Formed in 1979, the first Material lineup consisted of Laswell, multi-instrumentalist Michael Beinhorn, and drummer Fred Maher, all three staples of the downtown New York City underground music scene. The group,...
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One Down, Material
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