Bill Laswell (Material)




By Tom Semioli


Visionary, sound conceptualist, innovator…


Producer, recording artist, label head, composer – and a bass player, Bill Laswell is a giant of American music. Spanning pop, new wave, no wave, punk, dub, avant-garde, jazz, rock, reggae, electronica, techno – and permutations thereof, there is nary a genre Laswell has not excelled in.


Laswell’s innovative production and collaborative efforts are the stuff of legend. His short list (pun intended) of credits include: Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, Bootsy Collins, Nine Inch Nails, Motorhead, Peter Gabriel, Blur, The Ramones, George Clinton, Pharaoh Sanders, The Dalai Lama, Matisyahu, Angelique Kidjo, DJ Krush, Sting, The Last Poets, Afrika Bambaataa, Julian Schnabel, Whitney Houston, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock,  PiL, Ginger Baker, Tony Williams, Steve Vai, William S. Burroughs, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, and Bob Marley, to cite a select few.


Akin to his peer bassists Jah Wobble, Jonas Helborg, and such luminaries as Bootsy, Jaco, Jamerson, Marcus Miller…. Laswell’s rhythmic and tonal vocabulary has expanded the language of the instrument.


As a bassist his seminal works include his “avant-funk” ensemble Material, progressive dub collective Method of Defiance, Massacre with Fred Firth and Charles Hayward, and Last Exit with Sonny Sharrock among others.


Bill Laswell Sound and Vision

“Beyond the Zero”

“Golden Spiral”

“Dread Iternal”

“Lightening Teleportation”