Heaven and Hell


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Heaven and Hell Review

by Rick Anderson

Bassist Bill Laswell and the deeply strange guitarist Buckethead (so named for his practice of wearing a mask and an empty Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head at all times on-stage) have been making music of rare craziness and beauty together for more than ten years, both in and out of their avant-funk group Praxis. Working with electronic percussionist and "sound collagist" Shin Terai (who has previously recorded with Laswell under the name Chaos Face), they call themselves Shine on this album, and present a seven-part suite of dub-wise experimentation called Heaven and Hell. Each track is a numbered movement, and the whole thing proceeds and develops with a dark, slow intensity that sometimes (as on "Movement 4") judders along in a thudding, post-rockers style, and at others (as on "Movement 6") lapses into a sort of ambient and stunningly lovely guitar noodling. The separations between the tracks feel largely artificial, though -- you get the feeling that this whole album was made in one sitting, and it's most satisfying when experienced that way as well. Laswell's basslines are rubbery and gorgeous, as always, and Terai's rhythmic and atmospheric treatments nicely complement the work of the two instrumentalists. Highly recommended.

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