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Bill Laswell and Sacred Systems: Nagual Site

Bill Laswell is progressive music’s version of Master P., dropping more projects than you would think possible for one artist. Unlike P, however, Laswell manages to produce consistently interesting material. Bill Laswell and Sacred System’s Nagual Site (Wicklow Records, 09026-63263-2, 52:04), features Laswell’s take on Qawwalli, the Sufi devotional vocal style popularized by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The combination of singers Guylam Mohamed Khan and Ustad Sultan Khan and Laswell’s trademark ambient washes produces some good moments, and Laswell’s familiar list of collaborators add their own flavor to the batter. Bernie Worrell’s gothic organ stabs highlight the dub-influenced Black Lotus. Cornetist Graham Haynes waxes wistful on the fusionoid ballad “Derive,” and “X-Zibit” and “Driftwork” hint at drum-n-bass, rather than tackling it head on-wisely so, considering the proliferation of cookie-cutter drum-n-bass stuff.

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