Bill Laswell: Version 2 Version: A Dub Transmission (2004)
Mining the psychedelic dub style originated by early reggae progenitors including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Laswell fashions six pieces that are strangely similar, yet subtly different. Jah Wobble's thundering bass lines and Abdou Mboup's deft drumming create both the rhythmic backdrop and the harmonic focal point for the entire disc. Percussionist Karsh Kale and keyboardist Bernie Worrell, along with Laswell's own guitar work and not-insignificant studio trickery, provide the "ear candy" that gives each piece its own sense of space and purpose.
And while the emphasis is distinctly on reggae rhythms, Kale and Mboup provide a larger world view, with tabla and more African-informed polyrhythms giving the compositions added weight. And that's a good thing, as the similarity in tempo that pervades most of Version 2 Version , with the exception of the more aggressive closing track, "System Malfunction," could be seen as monotony.
But the truth of the matter is that Laswell's music shouldn't be overly intellectualized; instead, it should simply be felt. In the same way as Brian Eno's ambient music is something that ought to be experienced rather than considered for harmonic flow and development, the trance-like nature of Version 2 Version: A Dub Transmission is more about a physical reaction. Close your eyes, shut down your mind, and the body will surely follow.
Track Listing: Dystopia; Simulacra; Space-Time Paradox; Babylon Site; Night City; System Malfunction
Personnel: Bill Laswell (bass, guitar, samples, beats, producer), Jah Wobble (bass), Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Karsh Kale (percussion), Abdou Mboup (drums, percussion), Chris Cooksom (additional beat construction)
Record Label: ROIR