In no way meant to diminish the accomplishment of Messrs. Edwin and Feliciati, this is the best Bill Laswell record in ages. For people, that is, who harbour a particular affection for his Sacred System and Automaton recordings. Twinscapes has a close, 21st-century affinity with those projects and those sounds.
That being said, bassists Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree and Rare Noise´s Metallic Taste of Blood and Lorenzo Feliciati of the same label´s Naked Truth are hardly epigones. Edwin claims to have long wanted to do something with another bass player, and after meeting Feliciati at a live gig in London in March of last year, he finally found the right fit. The duo brought in trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær, saxophonist David Jackson (of Van der Graaf Generator), percussionist Andi Pupato and drummer Roberto Gualdi for a dub jazz recording session of the highest water. As he often is, Laswell is credited with “mix translation”, though it sounds like he “merely” produced the record as opposed to structuring it, which the term usually indicates. Edwin and Feliciati, for their part, man a lot of other posts as well, including keyboards, guitars, “space station” and “superego”.
Rare Noise puts a premium on artists with a heavy groove that rumbles like a bowling ball in your pelvic bowl. The muscular ambient fundament out of which Edwin and Feliciati growl on opening track “Shaken” flows smooth and dark like magma. Along with “In Dreamland,” “Breathsketch”, and the dreamy “Transparent” and “Sparse”, both featuring a spectacularly understated Molvær, it establishes the easy but darkling dub mood that dominates Twinscapes. There´s spooky black magic in Jackson´s ragged voodoo showcase “I-Dea”. After the secret agent dance “Conspiracy” and clash of pointillistic near-calypso and guitar-shredding on “Perfect Tool”, the quietly interstellar “Yügen” seeps out of the speakers and bounces off the points of stars on the tips of Pupato´s drumsticks, before an amicable jam deceptively named “Solos” drifts away with us.