10 June 2012

Destination: Out

Re, the prior post prompted me to do a little poking about and find, much to my surprise) that someone at FACT mag recently posted an appreciation of Sensational's 1997 debut Loaded With Power. Complete with a technical notes about how Sensation recorded the thing in supreme DIY fashion, and how it shaped the album's stunningly dusted, murky atmospherics. As some Esquire contributor said a while back of Cody Chesnutt's The Headphone Masterpiece, "One has to wonder how differently neo-soul might've turned out if it had all developed by way of the lo-fi bedroom recording route."

The author also mentions the hand Sensational (née Torture) had in the Jungle Brother's Crazy Wisdom Masters sessions, which Warner Brothers made the group re-record for the sake of commercial viability. Torture having been, by some accounts, one of the factors that helped lead the Brothers astray down the path of outer-orbit experimentation. Him, plus an alleged steady diet of acid and avant jazz they were ingesting at the time...

The free jazz reputedly came by way of Bill Laswell, who had introduced some of the group to the likes of Pharoah Sanders and Sonny Sharrock. From there the JBs decided that hip hop was yet another in a series of inventive developments in the history of black music, and could/should get as "out" as one of its primary precursors.

Not sure exactly how the Brothers came in contact with Laswell in the first place, but shortly before the sessions in question, JBs frontman Afrika Baby Bam took somehow ended up being a one-time member of Laswell's project Praxis. The outfit's 1992 album Transmutation sported the line-up of Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, guitarist Buckethead, and Primus drummer Brain. The fifth member of the ensemble for the occasion was a freeform turntablist going by the name of AF Next Man Flip; who if you looked closely enough at the inner-sleeve group photo (which not much of anyone did at the time) turned out to be the JB's Afrika Baby Bam...

Laswell apparently played a role in producing some of the Crazy Wisdom Masters sessions, with thankfully didn't wind up with the sort of wet-blanket results that plagued the previous venture of producing Rammellzee's Gettovetts. But admitted there were a couple of transcendent moments of that particular jawn...

And as I recall it was Laswell who fronted Skiz Fernando (aka Spectre) the "seed money" to start the Wordsound label in the first place. Experimental sub-scenes have a tendency to be fishbowl-y like that, I suppose.

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