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Milford Graves/Bill Laswell: Space / Time - Redemption

Budd Kopman By

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Music is a mysterious thing, and in a sense, all music that ever was and ever could be exists right now, just waiting for the right musician to bring it forth.

Music is meant to be experienced and not merely listened to. Its power is in its emotional content which is conveyed to us by rhythm, melody and harmony.

Those musicians who can tap into this energy are the ones who move audiences and even change lives.

Master drummer/percussionist Milford Graves and bassist/electronic wizard Bill Laswell are two such people. Together they have produced Space/Time -Redemption, an extraordinary example of the bringing forth out of the ether something with such power.

Interestingly, music without the usual signposts of patterned rhythm played against melody and harmony (i.e. "free") can have a much stronger emotional impact because it resists the analysis which inevitably comes with standard rhythm, melody and harmony.

Graves drives the music, playing his drums as an instrument and does not "keep time" in the normal sense. Laswell is almost along for the ride saying, "Understanding the unique rhythmic thrust and fractured sonic patterns of Milford Graves' tribal matrix is like trying to synchronize raindrops. Time is lapsed, accelerated and finally erased. Time is that which ends."

Laswell's bass sound is highly processed, with many added electronic artifacts, contrasting the technological and modern against Graves' primal playing. His sound provides a huge space which surrounds Graves allowing him to roam as he wishes.

A key part of this music is the fact that Graves' drums all have distinct pitches. This includes the bass drum which provides a deep, thick and palpable floor that supports everything above. Headphones are recommended, unless the playback system is superb, so this can be heard and felt.

Each improvised piece has its own flow. Graves' playing is highly complex in its use of constantly changing polyrhythms, but is also surprisingly simple and direct in its emotional message. Laswell provides at times long, flowing lines that are anchored tonally to the bass drum, and at other times provides counter rhythmic sounds, playing off Graves.

The total effect is mesmerizing and deeply emotional. Through Graves and Laswell, we can begin to understand that we are not merely isolated, single atoms being tossed about in a chaotic and incomprehensible universe, but rather that we are a part of the universe that is conscious of itself.

Nothing could say it better than Graves himself: "THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of the totality of the Celestial-Mystic-Spiritual-Scientific musician is to initiate an intradynamical thrusting force of the various particles that comprise the Earth's conscious cosmic mysteries that interact with the human biological system. The frequency of these particles should be compliant with the cosmic energies that impinge on the tympanic membrane-cerebral-heart connection. Through our given sensory receptors and biological transducers, it is possible and permissible to creatively decipher the concealed and hidden energies within and beyond the universe to activate the innovative-creative process to go BEYOND CONSCIOUS UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE."

Track Listing: Eternal Signs; Sonny Sharrock; Another Space; Autopossession; Another time.

Personnel: Milford Graves: drums, percussion; Bill Laswell: basses, electronics.

Title: Space / Time - Redemption | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: TUM Records

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