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Bill Laswell's Material Presents: All Around the World

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Album Review

Oz Fritz: All Around the World is an interesting project. Oz Fritz has been engineering Bill Laswell projects since the late '80s, and those projects have literally taken him around the world. In whatever spare time there was, Fritz took advantage and made field recordings of the street sounds and ambience of various sacred spaces. He then took these recordings and collaged them in many instances, creating a sound environment that never existed in the real world, but still evokes the senses of the source material. In the liner notes, Fritz discusses the nature of these sacred spaces, and how they are designed to raise consciousness and lift people out of their "mundane reality." He also discusses his theory that "true ambience is a complex wave function not only of audio waves, but of quantum waves." Fritz believes quantum waves are also recorded, and responsible for the mood altering qualities of a space. This recording is an attempt to evoke the atmosphere and consciousness altering aspects of these spaces. The underlying element from all the cultures represented is the concept of an afterlife or a life outside our normal reality, what Fritz calls a "practical technology for the preparation and survival of bodily death." Since he's juxtaposing and layering source material from different cultures, the album is not a strict album of field recordings, but at the same time, the source material is simply being manipulated, not added to. The result is some kind of cross between imaginary travelogue and meditation tool. As Fritz sums it up, "the intention here is to use sound as a means for exploring space." He also references John Cage's theory that everything is musical, if you're listening correctly (quite simplified). This is not an album to go driving to or play at a party. It is a guide for a personal journey, best taken alone. Far from being a soft background for peaceful meditation, it is the recordings that take you on the journey, not merely accompaniment. This approach will not appeal to all listeners, but may prove to be a powerful tool for others.

Bill Laswell's Material Presents: All Around the World, Oz Fritz
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