Praising Hallucination Engine as a postmodern Bitches Brew may seem mad, but Material bassist-composerguru Bill Laswell risks a maneuver akin to the one Miles Davis pulled off with his 1969 trailblazer: fusing disparate sounds into one groovy om of exhilaration and release. For sonic gorgeousness, funky trance states and technical bravado, this bid is the boldest.
In fact, the array of guest musicians is more diverse than ever: Trilok Gurtu, Jonas Hellborg, Zakir Hussain, Bootsy Collins -- the list goes on and on and even includes William Burroughs (who intones a hilarious list of "Words of Advice" over a churning mid-tempo funk groove). In his ambient mode, Laswell has been accused of turning too little music into too much track length, and there's some justice to those criticisms; here, "Black Light" and the unbelievably well-named "Eternal Drift" both plod along for far too long with far too little development. But that William Burroughs track kicks in just as you're about to fall asleep, and it's followed immediately by a very funky and very jazzy remix of "Cucumber Slumber." "The Hidden Garden/Naima" proposes an interesting juxtaposition of Arabic pop song and modal jazz, with dramatic and beautiful results, while "Shadows of Paradise" brings the album to a close with a gentle whimper, not a bang.
* Arranged By - Bill Laswell * Bass - Bill Laswell , Bootsy Collins , Jonas Hellborg * Chatan, Congas, Percussion - Aiyb Dieng * Daff, Tambourine - Michael Baklouk * Drums [Kit] - Sly Dunbar * Engineer - Martin Bisi , Oz Fritz , Robert Musso * Ghatam - Vikku Vinayakram * Guitar, Sitar, Baglama - Nicky Skopelitis * Mastered By - Howie Weinberg * Ney - Jihad Racy * Oud - Simon Shaheen * Piano [Electric], Organ [Hammond B-3] - Bernie Worrell * Producer - Bill Laswell * Qanoum - George Basil * Sampler, Programmed By [Beats, Loops] - Bill Laswell * Saxophone [Tenor, Soprano] - Wayne Shorter * Synthesizer - Jeff Bova , Nicky Skopelitis * Tabla - Trilok Gurtu , Zakir Hussain * Violin - Shankar , Simon Shaheen * Voice - Fahiem Dandan , Liu Sola , William S. Burroughs
The attitude of the gallant Six Hundred which so aroused Lord Tennyson's admiration arose from the fact that the least disposition to ask the reason why was discouraged by tricing the would-be inquirer to the triangle and flogging him into insensibility.
Advance to Barbarism
(Mitre Press, 1968).
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