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World Music CD Reviews Africa


Published April 7, 2006

Illuminated Audio


“In the future, records will be made from records,” goes the John Cage quote on the new Gigi release, a sonic reconfiguration of 2001’s self-titled breakthrough. This new translation comes via futurist/alchemist Bill Laswell, whose philosophical dabbling is as extensive as the 300-plus albums he’s produced/performed/ deconstructed beyond recognition. Illuminated Audio is reminiscent of Laswell’s recent voyages into dub a la Bob Marley, Miles Davis and Carlos Santana, the difference being his hand produced the original Gigi record—hence, a more intimate, thorough mutation. Gigi’s gorgeous vocals are pushed slightly back for an equally vivid, warm album as meditative as it is penetrating. Laswell’s bass throbs with pulsing gravity; this may very well be his best remix to date.

As for alter-ego Axiom Records, Reconstructions & Vexations takes elements from three releases—Tabla Beat Science’s Tala Matrix and Live In San Francisco At Stern Grove, and Radioaxom: A Dub Transmission—and forms further retranslations, with the help of Jah Wobble, Dr. Israel, Karsh Kale, Carl Craig and more. Israel’s “Alam Dub” is ragga downtempo, swarming bass against hypnotic rhythm; Kale’s “Taaruf” takes the TBS original and chills it smoothly; the MIDIval PunditZ’ “Palmistry” exquisitely chugs along the d ’n’ b track. Reconstructions does have weaker moments—two versions of Craig’s “Alsema Dub” both fall flat—but with a title that would make Stereolab envious and Laswell’s heavy hand controlling the boards, it’s a worthwhile purchase. Some say nothing’s new under the sun. Then maybe it’s time, as Laswell is proving, to look for new solar systems.