Bill Laswell

Outer Dark

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

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.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2
blue highlight denotes track pick