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More a shifting group of collaborating musicians than a band, the music of Bill Laswell's brainchild Material is a relentless cross-pollination of genres and traditions. Laswell's far-reaching vision includes elements of Funk, hip-hop, Dub, Ambient, Fusion, Progressive Rock, and music from North India and the Middle East. On each of the band's releases, several of these elements orbit around the rock-solid fulcrum of Laswell's subterranean bass, subsumed into a down-tempo groove based in Funk and Dub. Their latest outing finds them in a hip-hop frame of mind, with Kool Keith dropping cosmically minded, often unsettling meditations on the coming millennium over spooky drones, white noise, and Kut Masta Kurt's turntable scratches. Laswell's music presents the darker side of a globalizing culture, containing with it a larger sense of displacement and anxiety. It's from neither Manhattan, nor Jamaica, nor the Himalayas, yet a fusion of those three places with a simultaneous alienation from all.
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