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Intonarumori

Material

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Album Review

Things sure have changed since Material (then a trio consisting of bassist/producer Bill Laswell, drummer Fred Maher, and keyboardist Michael Beinhorn) released its first EP of mildly abrasive experimental art-funk in 1979. These days, Beinhorn and Maher are out of the picture, and Material is just a name that Laswell gives to one of his many collaborative projects. This time out, Material is Laswell and a motley crew of rappers and DJs. The disc's package is emblazoned with the defiant slogan "Rapping is still an art," which tends to raise one's expectations somewhat. Those expectations are more or less borne out, too. As is his wont, Laswell provides instrumental settings that are dark, rhythmically complex, and bone-shakingly bass-heavy; on top of his foundational beats there are expert turntable manipulations from the likes of DXT (known to old-school aficionados as Grandmaster D.ST) and phonosycographDISK, rapping by Ramm Ell Zee, Scotty Hard, Killah Priest, Flavor Flav, and others, and even a cameo appearance by wispy-voiced art-pop singer Lori Carson (whose "All That Future," a collaboration with funky keyboard legend Bernie Worrell, turns out to be one of the album's highlights). Flavor Flav is his typical off-the-wall self on "Burnin'," while Killah Priest gets arrhythmically serious on the six-minute recitation "Temple of the Mental." Alicia Blue provides the aptly titled "Flow," and Kool Keith weighs in with "Conspiracies," a lyrical theme that keeps returning throughout the album. The only weak point here comes, unfortunately, at the very end, with Ramm Ell Zee's obnoxious and stupid "Hisstory." That aside, this is highly recommended overall.

Customer Reviews

Burnin' is a hot track yo

burnin is good, good beat, good scratching, good lyrics by none other than flava flav

maybe the most slept on comp ever

this album is sick sick sick. timeless. rham el zee? what? bottom line : cop this and you will not be disappointed.

Ill Rhymes and and a few suprises

Great album overall, still is in my rotation after all these years. Suprisingly good with a few notable mentions: My style is I ain't got no style you can hear his rhymes reach a fever pitch and loosen up towards the end. Ramm El lays it down mathematically precise and Kool Keith is....well.......Kool Keith. Then once you ease into this album it hits you with a suprise: Lori Carson (a folk singer) on "all that future" comes out of nowhere with a sweet and eerie melody laced over a simple yet profound drum-n-bassline. Just awesome, grab this and dig all it has to offer...its a little different than the norm.

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,...
Full Bio
Intonarumori, Material
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