Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Translations in Dub • A Conversation with Bill Laswell


Ambient translations in dub, Japan in the ’80s, and future music with visionary bass player / producer Bill Laswell.

A few months ago, news arrived that iconic bass player / producer Bill Laswell was in need of help from his fans, friends, and fellow artists. The note, titled “Entering the 2nd phase of Sacred Begging: EMERGENCY,” included details of Laswell’s difficulties over the pandemic with preexisting health conditions, his recent eviction from his Manhattan home, and struggle to hold on to the lease of his legendary New Jersey studio, Orange Music. A GoFundMe campaign was set up and within moments, Laswell’s global network responded with an outpouring of love and support:

“Your records, your performances, your principles have imprinted in my soul and I’m better for it.”

“Bill. Without you, nothing if you ask me. You are a true warrior with a big musical integrity. We need you out there.”

“It’s a damned crime that the man behind so much innovative sound and music is out here in this situation.”

While the casual music fan might not recognize Laswell by name, the artist has had a hand in producing some of the most inventive and sonically adventurous music of the last four decades. “Rockit” with Herbie Hancock introduced turntablism to the world and helped hip-hop crossover to the mainstream. Last Exit, a quartet with Sonny Sharrock, Peter Brötzmann, and Ronald Shannon Jackson, pushed the sonic boundaries of free jazz and ventured into noise territory. Gigi forged a new world pop sound fusing traditional Ethiopian music with jazz, ambient, and gospel. The album would go on to inspire generations of Ethiopian youth.

Read the full interview:







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