Friday, October 20, 2006

Bill Laswell - Seven Souls

MATERIAL - The Road to the Western Lands

Remixes from Material's Seven Souls.

1) Bill Laswell - The Seven Souls (WSB,BL) 5:47; Alicia Renee aka Blue Eyes: vocals; Nicky Skopelitis: guitar; Bill Laswell: bass, keyboards, turntable; Robert Musso: engineering, processing. Produced and arranged by Bill Laswell. William S. Burroughs - words and narration. 1998.

The Seven Souls is a remix from Material's Seven Souls. It is a compilation arranged by Bill Laswell that combines several different aspects of audio sampling, live vocals, bass, keyboards and remixing, along with the narration and words of William S. Burroughs.

This mix has a very unique sound and feeling to it. It takes you on a journey through a narrative told by William S. Burroughs. You can get lost in the beat and flow of his voice. He has a simple and easy way of speaking and reading his narrative. His subjects and metaphor about them are straight forward compared to other Burroughs narratives, but because of the subject it is still pretty abstract.

The words are very powerful, abstractly composed which creates a mood of serious yet far out ideas of death and existence. He can be in the reality at the same moment as being at the complete opposite of reality. His words make you question where you are and where you are going. The subject is death and the Egyptian prophecy of Seven Souls. Even-though he is discussing an ancient belief he is still addressing subjects applicable to today like computers and death camps.

Some of the words really strike home with me because they relate to me personally in so many different ways. For example William S. Burroughs says "what is behind the computers? remote control, of course." this really applies to me. I started to question my self, am I remote controlled? Am I a dead empty human, manipulated by computers? I hope not, I hope I am far more conscious than this, but it makes you think about where you are and what you are doing.

Another profound message was, "This is a penal colony, that is now a death camp." Burroughs is referring to the human race as a penal colony like ants or other colonial animals and insects. This is very powerful statement for him to make about the human race. It makes you feel very insignificant an small in the vast universe.

I like how at the end of the track he talks about writing it's self. He states, "The end of what can be done with words". This is so true and I think that it is why remixing is so important and such a new genre of artistic expression. It is the new cutting edge to remix culture and its ideas and history to create a new meaning or to exaggerate the current meaning. I think it was no chance that Bill Laswell chose to remix this narrative. it is important to inspect why these pieces of music were chosen to accompany this unique piece of narrative. This is an important statement by Bill Laswell about remixing cultures and about technology and society and the human race as a spiritual being.

The beats of the drum kits are amazing and they are lined up really nice. His transitions throughout the song amaze me how they compliment each other. He is good at tweaking them out and adding reverb or delay on them. His scratching to the beat is great too. He adds to the track by reacting to the beat with his own scratching beat.

The harmony flowing gracefully from Alicia Renee's lips, sooth the soul and caress the air as it flows over the beats and rhythms. The chanting sounds of this harmony can easily transport you into another state of wanting to move back and fourth and gracefully move your arms through the space and spirit surrounding your beautiful spirit. Like you are floating in water and your hair is buoyant as you swim under the water or through space.

I love the experimental sounds of the piece, very spicy, and loud, slow, popping, ringing, dinging sounds. These sounds allow you to travel into space where he wants you to be to enjoy this unique composition. He uses the pan technique with these sounds allowing you to hear some of the sounds only through one side of the speaker system. This allows you to become aware of where you are in the experience three dimensionally in reality.

The overall tone of the piece is amazing, it's a narrative, a remix, a harmonic melody with experimental breaks and sounds. The compilation gives me chills during some of the transitions and the dialogue about technology and humanity. I feel good about the piece, it is uplifting yet questioning, it is experiential and progressive in nature. It is simple in ideas yet complex in delivery of them in a unique style of remixed culture.