My St. Patty’s Day contribution: Ireland is a country of intense contradictions: religious, political, cultural and artistic. With a deep mystical and poetic tradition that predates Christianity, the Irish feel intensely the staggering natural beauty of their homeland, but also see beyond it to powers invisible and even unknowable.
Bill Laswell neatly objectifies some of these contradictions with his “reconstruction” of traditional Irish music by artists including Sola, Jerry Sullivan, Karan Casey, and Matt Molloy, augmenting them with electronic beats and ambient washes to create a unique Celtic soundscape both familiar and alien, ancient and contemporary, organic and digital. Not all of it works, but when it does it’s magic. My fave track is skittery, ambient, floating in and out of this world “The Hare and the Heather.”
Laswell is one of the most important, adventuresome and creative American bass players and producers of the last 20 years. He has remixed/recreated Bob Marley and Miles Daivs, as well as produced Mick Jagger, Herbie Hancock, the Ramones, and all kinds of avant-garde jazz and rock performers, as well as being the founder of the avant-funk group Material.