From All About Jazz:
For some people music is a mere entertainment product, a pastime amusement. For others music is a powerful force and the act of its creation carries within itself a sense of discovery. Bill Laswell‘s music, production and remixes have always carried that sense of discovery and riskiness. Multifariously creative and independent, he has always been revered by avant-gardists, jazz and improv and electronic music fans with equal zeal.
In the last 30 years, this incontrovertibly cool producer has emerged as as one of the most important figures in today’s music. He has been involved in the making of so many records that chances are that anybody with the least interest of modern music will have crossed paths with one of his recordings. His pieces are like busy intersections of different sounds, cultures and people that in a way resemble global conversations. They are rooted in the process of collaboration and, especially in the ’90s, these records represented exciting points of musical confluences. The band Material was a loose aggregation of musicians where many people contributed to these unusual records, ranking from guitarists Sonny Sharrock, Nicky Skopelitis, Fred Frith, Nile Rogers to saxophonists Henry Threadgill, Archie Shepp, to keyboardists Herbie Hancock, Bernie Worrell or percussionist Aiyb Dieng and tabla player Zakir Hussain, to name a few. Laswell’s records are much more in line with Miles Davis‘ or Jon Hassell‘s explorations of sound and choice of musicians rather than simply creating tapestries of exotic but shallow sounds.