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Sleeping Dogs Lie 54: Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell

Pete Namlook (born Peter Kuhlmann , in Frankfurt, Germany) is an ambient and electronic-music producer and composer. In 1992, he founded the German record label FAX +49-69/450464, which he oversees. Inspired by the music of Eberhard Weber, Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chopin, Wendy Carlos, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Pink Floyd, he also composes his own albums.

01 Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell: “Outland” (1994)
02 Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell: “Outland 2” (1996)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 28: Bill Laswell, Terre Thaemlitz, Atom Heart, Tetsu Inoue

“Web” has some of the most abrasive, industrial leaning ambient of either of these composers’ careers. Chains rattle, voices whisper menacingly, and dark, dissonant textures and deep bass drones collide on a trio of extended tracks united by the questionably thematic topic of digital communications technology. Difficult but rewarding.

“Second Nature” is a typical Bill Laswell excursion into the murkiest depths of ambient experimentalism, meaning there’s no danceable beats, no hummable grooves, and virtually no firm melodic ground for listeners to grab hold of. That said, patient listening will be rewarded in due time. This is some seriously crazy, experimental stuff; a bit too subtle for casual listeners, but an interesting ride for those passengers willing to ride it out to the end of the line.

American bassist Bill Laswell (Praxis, Massacre, etc.) is the founder of ‘collision music’ – a collaborative concept that brings together musicians from divergent instrumentations and backgrounds. “City of Light” is about Banaras, a city older than history, tradition, way beyond legends. It is Shiva’s land, founded at the dawn of creation. It is India’s oldest and most fabled city. The Hindus call it Kashi, the luminous…

01. Bill Laswell, Terre Thaemlitz: “Open URL” (from “Web”, Subharmonic, 1995)
02. Bill Laswell, Terre Thaemlitz: “Transfer Complete” (from “Web”, Subharmonic, 1995)
03. Atom Heart, Tetsu Inoue, Bill Laswell: “Green Paste” (from “Second Nature”, Submeta, 1996)
04. Bill Laswell: “Kashi (with Tetsu Inoue)” (from “City Of Light”, Sub Rosa, 1997)
05. Bill Laswell: “Above The Earth (with Lori Carson)” (from “City Of Light”, Sub Rosa, 1997)
06. Bill Laswell: “Nothing” (from “City Of Light”, Sub Rosa, 1997)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 17: Bill Laswell, Paul Schutze, Pete Namlook, Thomas Köner

I listened to a fair sampling of Laswell-related projects during the mid-1990s (he had waaaay too much product) and this disc was one of the ones I really liked. What we have here is a various artist collection that remains remarkably cohesive on the whole and also offers some stand-out tracks, depending on your cup of tea (a darker one here, to be sure). I was heavily into isolationist sounscapes at the time this was released and most of the artists here contributed something to that ambient sub-genre. Anyway, I lost sight of this CD for some time and stumbled on it again recently and have been enjoying a resurgence of interest in it! It’s a great late-night or early-morning piece to sip your coffee and/or read to.

With Paul Schutze’s Green Evil, we have an 11-minute plus excerpt from his album with the same name (and I believe only one of two tracks here that was featured on other albums). Schutze has a very recognizable sound, and yet – to his credit -plays it ‘very’ minimal here. Pete Namlook’s “Subharmonic Invocation of the Dark Spirits,” nearly 13 minutes of cavernous rumblings through a yawning abyss. A straight-ahead dark ambient piece. Thomas Koner is a well-respected master of cold and sparse ambient. He’s one of those guys who you might initially compare to someENOone else but who has really taken things to a new level and gone his own way with it. His work is typically out-of-print and therefore goes for a premium when you do find it, but here you’ll get a good sample of what he does best on this disk. This track actually has some percussive elements, which are rare for him. Laswell himself provides the longest piece on the set, the 30-minute long “Black Dangers” (despite the title’s name being overly stated, it’s a wonderfully sparse and barren track that remains delightfully consistant for its duration) and plays well with the rest of the CD set. This is a rather solid double CD, “well worth” any ambient fan’s money. If you love the darker domains of ambient, then make room for this disk!

01. Bill Laswell: “Black Dangers” (from “Divination: Distill”, Sub Meta, 1995)
02. Paul Schutze: “Green Evil” (from “Divination: Distill”, Sub Meta, 1995)
03. Pete Namlook: “Subharmonic Invocation Of The Dark Spirits” (from “Divination: Distill”, Sub Meta, 1995)
04. Thomas Köner: “Zone” (from “Divination: Distill”, Sub Meta, 1995)

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