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Have you ever caught sight of people frozen in time zones of fashion? Like the eternal prep school dresser or the guy who will forever wear the Elvis pompadour and sideburns. Their fashion zone might be a case of cultural archeologyor are they wearing a disguise?
The same feelings arise with Bill Laswell's live recordings. His music has always had direct connections to the early jazz fusion of Miles Davis. You can hear it in Material, Praxis, and Last Exit. The producer/bassist/engineer even translated and reconstructed the electric Miles from the original recordings on Panthalassa (Columbia 1998).
Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not.
You can hear the Miles jam concept updated with Indian music and DJs on the wonderful Tabla Beat Science records; this band, unofficially called Charged, bears the same electric vitality.
Taken from live dates in Japan, Germany, and Holland (1999-2001), Laswell pairs his thunderous bass with Italian guitarist Eraldo Bernocchi and electric trumpeter Toshinori Kondo. To complete the live concerts he adds percussionists Hamid Drake and Aiyb Dieng, along with turntablist DJ Disk.
This clash of cultures produces a meeting of electric modernity and unplugged rhythms. The opening track, “Shintotech,” is a processional advance of dub inflections. Likewise, “Dueling Sufis” matches up hand drumming with electronic manipulations in a cutting contest turned toward street beats. Like with Tabla Beat Science, Laswell incorporates turntables as a full partner in the music.
The closing track, a sixteen minute meeting between Charged and the Gnawa Musicians of Morocco represents a now familiar event. This world music intersection with jazz is certainly the love child of all Miles’ dreams.