Divination – Ambient Dub Volume 1 – Cassette
Ain Soph Aour
In recent years, bassist and underground magnate Bill Laswell has become a sort of one-man music factory, assembling ad hoc ensembles from members of the hiphop, avant-garde, improv, turntablist, and rock communities. Laswell’s productions are often billed as “dub,” though they de-emphasize the studio-manipulated re-percussions of such Jamaican masters as Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby and, thus, are not dub in any traditional sense. Instead, they borrow as selectively from dub as they do from such musical idioms as techno and funk.
AMBIENT DUB VOL. 1, the first in a series of (often radically different) Divination projects, shows an impressive scope. Brilliant guitarists Buckethead and Nicky Skopelitis add arachnid-like webs of texture to Robert Musso’s dusky synths and Ben Bova’s ethereal electronics. Laswell’s bass hews deep, reciprocal grooves into the thick and exotic atmospheres. The album veers from weightlessly abstract ambience (“Erratta,” “Ain Soph Aour”) to the quasi-dub rhythmic fluctuations of “Delta” and the all-out ethno-techno-funk of “Agrippa.” “Seven Heavens” works up a healthy trance-delic sweat, while “Tian Zhen,” a spotlight for Liu Sola’s wraith-like (part priestess, part pygmy) voice, and the Sola-powered techno-shamanism of “Godspeed” send shivers down the spine. Dub? No, but fine music nonetheless.