Outer Dark displays Bill Laswell's penchant for working out compositional ideas at great length, breaking the 20-minute barrier on both of the album's instrumental pieces. Entirely a studio creation, the music is the result of Laswell's (sounds) collaboration with Robert Musso (engineering, treatments) at Brooklyn, NY's Greenpoint Studios. The duo attempts to shape a composition out of the dark ether on the opening "Chakra." It begins with a buzzing sitar drone (providing the Eastern flavor common in Laswell's music) and strummed guitar emerging from the murk. Disappearing and returning throughout, the elements take on a sort of dizzying paranoia at song's end through their repetition. As for the ether itself, the musical backdrop is a drift of throbbing, amorphous ambience comprised of mildly chilling keyboard washes and tube-like breezes. It's intriguing as atmosphere, but little else. "Ananta (Passing Dream)" is more interesting if only because of its rhythm element. The compositional approach is roughly the same as a buzzing, wiry beat spends a good deal of the track trying to find a point of entry in a similar setting. Released on Germany's Fax label, Outer Dark is like the sound of the universe's pulsations: music for the formation of heavenly bodies. Unconcerned with conventional development, it's forced to find a source of power amidst the ambience. While the explorations contain enough substance for Laswell's serious fans, the music ultimately lacks the sort of muscle inherent in his best work.
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AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush