Essential Bill Laswell?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Bassline1414, May 31, 2002.

  1. Ok, I was looking at the BP magazine from a few months back and must say I'm intrigued by this man who seemed very cool in the interview. What are the essential albums featuring Bill Laswell's bass stylings?
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    For Laswell as bassist, the essentials (for me) would be "BaseLines", any of the Last Exit albums (all are live except for "Iron Path"), "Low Life" with Peter Brotzmann (WARNING: this one is really abrasive!) and "South Delta Space Age" by Third Rail. Most of this stuff is either out of print or on expensive imports, though.

    Many of the albums under Laswell's name are just electronica with little or no bass, just dub and remix stuff. The guy seems to put records out every week!
  3. oddentity

    oddentity Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    I highly recommend checking out Tabla Beat Science: Tala Matrix. Relatively new, and some tasty basslines along with mind-blowing tabla (Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh) and drums (Karsh Kale).
  4. Would most of these cds be found under the Jazz section at Best Buy or stores like it?
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Best Buy probably would never stock Laswell CDs!!!!

    In the local record stores, I find them under rock or wherever they put the electronica/techno/remix stuff.
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    i listened to's samples of tabla beat science, and that is some cool stuff. i'm definitely getting that cd soon.

    don't know if it's really "bass-heavy" but i don't really care.

    ie-it may not be considered exemplary bill laswell (as per your request) but i like it a lot.
  7. Dub Chamber 3 and Bass Terror Tetramagation (spelling?). Also, the "Broken Vessels" soundtrack and whatever Herbie Hancock album had "Rockit" on it.

    God, Bill Laswell is SO COOL.
  8. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I really like Bill's Axiom stuff...but it's all out of print for now:confused: Of some of his more recent stuff, I really like " Imaginary Cuba" & " Dub Transmission" with Jah Wobble! Brian's right tho..
    the catolog of Bill Laswell is uge & very experimental:D
  9. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Being a certified laswell nut, with a couple of hundred of his cds in my collection (he has released something around 750 album since the mid 80s!), let me chime in:
    "Hear No Evil" a great album, filled with some very noteworthy bass playing!

    "Basslines" I believe is out of print, but a prime example of some more avant playing

    "Iron Path" by Last Exit (R. Shannon Jackson, Laswell, the late Sonny Sharrock and Brontzman) very avant, outside, and abrasive...but so cool

    There are several Praxis cds which display the funk/metal/hip-hop thing done incredibly well!

    "Invisible Design" a solo bass release....incredibly emotive.

    Tabla Beat Science "Tala Matrix"...and a soon to be released live album by the same

    RadioAxiom: A dub Transmission...with Jah Wobble...fantastic, released late last year. There is now a new live recording from this same outfit, featuring Bill playing lead and treated basses.

    Material: Hallucination Engine. A masterpiece which also features Bootsy, Jah Wobble and Jonas Hellborg.

    "Lo Def Pressure"
    "Dub Chamber 3" also Dub Chamber 1 and 2...
    "Oscillations 2" which is a great drum n' bass styled recording.

  10. Public Image Limited (John Lydon AKA. Johnny Rotten's post Sex Pistols band)'s ALBUM/COMPACT DISC/CASSETTE features production and bass playing by Bill Laswell.

    the most well-known track is "Rise", which also features Tony Williams on drums and Steve Vai playing the guitar solo(s).
    a fretless sliding bassline from Laswell.

    the Bob Clearmountain mix of "Rise" that's on PIL's Greatest far is one of my all-time favourite tracks.
  11. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    Mad up's to Material-"Hallucination Engine"...Wayne Shorter is in on that one too.
  12. crud19


    Sep 26, 2001
    Let us not forget his harder stuff: Painkiller and Masacre, both of whose albums are available from

    Not for the faint of heart!
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Digging this thread up because I just got Tabla Beat Science's new 2CD live album... haven't heard it yet, but can't wait to check it out (I love "Tala Matrix").

    Diehard Laswell fans should get the 4CD Painkiller box set. It contains all Painkiller's studio recordings (with original gruesome cover art), and disc 4 is Painkiller live in Japan. The live disc is an excellent showcase of Laswell licks, ranging from deep and dubby to fast, furious, and way outside the box. Fair warning: Painkiller is an intensely abrasive trio, with Mick Harris (Napalm Death) on drums and John Zorn ('nuff said) on sax. I love it, though... imagine King Crimson's "Red" album on steroids and amphetamines.

    My favorite Buckethead CD is "Monsters and Robots". Can anyone tell me if the fast slapped riffs in Collision (I think) were done by Laswell, or was that Ninj, also credited with bass?

    For traditional dub, there's Bill Laswell and Style Scott's "Inna Dub Meltdown" (WordSound records). Pretty much just dubwise bass and drum improv with minimal chordal accompaniment, but it's righteous nonetheless.

    Praxis' "Warzawa" (live in Poland) is a mixed bag: for example the first track is just a turntable/electronics battle between Mixmaster Mike and DJ DISK: now, I really love good scratchin' and this track features tons of it, but at 20 minutes it gets to be a bit much to even me. But tracks 2 and 3 are great tunes... I believe track 3 is the funky-cool one featuring KILLER Laswell riffs.

    I also dig the solo album "Invisible Designs" (described above).

    Oh, gotta add this one: "Rasa Bhava" by Makyo features the dub-trance track "Devabandha: Laswell tantric mix" which is 12 minutes of pure nirvana. Sadly, I believe this CD is out of print.