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Hallucination Engine

Material

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Album Review

By the mid-'90s, Material was simply another word for Bill Laswell, so as Laswell's fascination with ambient mysticism grew, so did Material's tendencies in that direction. After 1991's dark and reggae-inflected The Third Power, Hallucination Engine's long, spacy jams aren't exactly a dramatic departure, but the combination of Wayne Shorter and various North African elements is certainly interesting. In fact, the array of guest musicians is more diverse than ever: Trilok Gurtu, Jonas Hellborg, Zakir Hussain, Bootsy Collins — the list goes on and on and even includes William Burroughs (who intones a hilarious list of "Words of Advice" over a churning mid-tempo funk groove). In his ambient mode, Laswell has been accused of turning too little music into too much track length, and there's some justice to those criticisms; here, "Black Light" and the unbelievably well-named "Eternal Drift" both plod along for far too long with far too little development. But that William Burroughs track kicks in just as you're about to fall asleep, and it's followed immediately by a very funky and very jazzy remix of "Cucumber Slumber." "The Hidden Garden/Naima" proposes an interesting juxtaposition of Arabic pop song and modal jazz, with dramatic and beautiful results, while "Shadows of Paradise" brings the album to a close with a gentle whimper, not a bang.

Customer Reviews

The name is apt!

This is my favorite Laswell album; spacey, funky, and thoroughly enjoyable. The William Burroughs rant is a classic!

One of my favorite albums of all time

the main review doesn't evn mention Mantra, which is a driving, dramatic and amazing track. medley: the Hidden Garden/The Naima is also pretty steller. This album is a journey, not just one thing, which I think it is it's strength. each track is fresh and different, yet they all meld together pretty well. There are more than a few moments of brilliance on this album that I've hoped to hear again from Bill Lazwell, but alas, nothing has since come close.

telepathic line to ETs

Anybody else have a telepathic connection to ETs while listenin' to this amazing CD? :)

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

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