Sacred System, Chapter One: Book of Entranceby Bill Laswell
Fans of Bill Laswell will salivate at the prospect of an all-reggae outing from the master producer and bass god. And at first listen, he bears out most expectations: the grooves are heavy, intelligent and well-constructed. But as the disc wears on, it also becomes increasingly clear that he made one serious mistake in making this album: he played and produced everything himself, and the resulting sound is kind of sterile. Blame it in part on the crispy-clean digital keyboard sound that varies not at all from track to track, but part of the problem lies in the fact that all of the musical ideas clearly come from one person. Laswell's a genius, but so is Prince; that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be someone there helping him sort the brilliant ideas from the mediocre ones, not to mention contributing a few different musical gestures just to keep things interesting. That said, this is a gorgeous piece of well-textured reggae background music. But if you want more than that, check out the followup (Sacred System: Chapter Two).
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