Jah Wobble

Live in Concert

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Jah Wobble has proved the most enigmatic of ex-punks, delving into all manner of different musics over the last two decades. This aggregation puts him in some stellar company, with bassist Bill Laswell, former Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, along with pianist Harold Budd and cornetist Graham Haynes, both best known for their more ambient work. What they stir up together is quite mind-boggling. With just four tracks (the briefest of which runs over six minutes) they tear the roof off the sucker throughout. Both Haynes and Budd are revelations, attacking their instruments -- just listen to Haynes during "The Mystery of Twilight, Pt. 1," for example, or Budd anywhere on this album, as he assembles sound collages of noise and fury. Laswell turns on the fuzz bass, most notably on "Seven Dials," where he and Haynes trade off phrases with an energy that's quite palpable. Liebezeit does what he does best -- keeping very metronomic time; but where that worked for his previous employers, here a freer hand is needed to keep up with the others, and Liebezeit simply doesn't have it. Only on the closer, "Around the Lake," does he seem to break out and catch fire, by which time it's virtually too late. Wobble himself is rarely in the spotlight, but gives a center to everything, from which the other players can leap as far as their imaginations and abilities can carry them -- which proves to be very far. It's an unsung but vital role, keeping everything together with his bass work. He continues to take chances, and in this instance it pays off very handsomely.

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