If there were an award for the Overachieving Bass Player for the last four decades, Bill Laswell would win it, hands down. With a discography dating back to the sixties and lined with guests representing the cream of the crop for just about every musical genre worldwide, it would be appropriate to say that he is a master of his own destiny, and this is it: play deep, stony dub, and keep on living.
This time around, the lineup consists of not only close friends of Bill’s closest friends, but also a group of high-class, seasoned musicians. The album, entitled Version 2Version and released this year on ROIR Records, was in part written by fellow bassist Jah Wobble, of Public Image Limited fame. Contributing players also include fellow Tabla Beat Science collaborator Karsh Kale, one of the most in-demand percussionists of the present day, and Bernie Worrell, legendary keyboard player for such well known groups as Parliament Funkadelic, the Talking Heads, and Peter Gabriel, amongst others.
Only six tracks and a little under an hour long, this album isn’t just a trip, it’s a journey to the outer rim of existence and back, with a vibe that continues to carry you long after the CD is done. The bass playing is magnificent in it’s minimalism, and the drumwork, provided by internationally renowned drummer Abdou Mboup, creates a heartbeat for a wholly tasteful and smooth sound throughout the album. With the addition of Karsh’s perfect tabla technique and Bernie’s warm, melodic atmosphere on keys, the whole becomes far, far more than the sum of it’s parts, and creates a must-have dub album for all true reggae lovers and general music lovers alike.