Material

Seven Souls

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Bill Laswell's Material project has epitomized the concept of "fusion music" for well over two decades now. Material is a melting pot of styles, sounds, and substance-a confluence of rock, gut bucket funk, avant jazz, electronic interfacing, steel-wheel manipulation, and experimentally minded underpinnings. Material quietly makes the necessary musical statement every few years, galvanizing the air about it, then moving on.

SEVEN SOULS was originally released in 1987 and turned a few heads even then. Now reissued with a gaggle of white-hot remixes (by Terre Thaemlitz, Tim Simenon, and Laswell himself), Material's provocative late-'80s missive seems to resonate even more brutally today. William Burroughs' spoken text, his trademark vocal gravel croaking over a funk of molasses-thick bass, chirping electronics, abstract white noise, stinging guitars, and massed ethnic percussion, serves to offer up a rationale of post-modern sense in an increasingly convoluted world. Musically, Material has never sounded tighter, leaner, or meaner. Soul killer, stereo killer, mind-smelter-if the road to the Western lands leads to music this good, pay the man his toll, and get on to it.

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