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Bill Laswell: Deconstructing Havana

In spite of a production resume that includes Herbie’s “Rockit,” and albums by Sonny Sharrock, Jajouka/ Gnawa musicians, Bob Marley (dub), Laswell still gets a lot of stick for his innovations. Granted, he drops way too many all-over-the-place records that go nowhere; but when home-bwoy focuses, he breaks off a thing of beauty like Sacred System’s Imaginary Cuba: Deconstructing Havana (Wicklow/BMG, 09026-63514, 57:24). Thirteen tracks of singers, players and ritual ceremonies (Raul Planas, Tata Guines, Los Ibellis, respectively) recorded in Havana/dubafied-beat-encoded-time-spaced in Orange, NJ, Imaginary Cuba is an aurally exquisite dreamstate. Next to that, Laswell’s trendy rave/drum ‘n’ bass DJ project Panthalassa: The Remixes (Columbia, CK 69897, 46:59) bites the big one. Judging by his 16-minute funkcronomicon bumrush of “On the Corner,” he shoulda left the clueless young’uns in their cribs.

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