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Quote of the Week: Laswell on/off Fusion, Dubstep

From a July 15 interview with Bill Laswell:

    [Q:] Do you look to the titans of 70s fusion when you’re trying to improvise in a rhythmical electronic format like this?

    BL: No, I didn’t really relate to that kind of music. I mean fusion had a great beginning with Tony Williams’ ”˜Lifetime’ when he John McLaughlin and Larry Young and later with Jack Bruce. That is a really good example of a band who play with structure but who also improvise within that structure. That was important and some of the electric Miles Davis things, which were again based round repetitive rhythm. There was a lot of room for people to incorporate sounds and rhythms and structures on top and I think that was important. But then I think fusion got to analytical; too structured; to virtuoso over art or over feeling and I didn’t follow for much after that. The only fusion I became interested in then was through following African music, Indian music and music from parts of central Asia, Japan etc. Looking back I thought Cream was a good improvising band even though it was only in a couple of time signatures and mainly based on the blues I thought that was more inspiring than what fusion became.

    [Q:] Speaking as someone that we regard as quite a radical figure working with the weight and depth of bass culture, what do you think of dubstep?

    BL: Well dubstep to me is a style that we’ve been hinting at the whole time. I don’t see it as being anything totally new but I like it and relate to it because I think from time to time we’ve been doing stuff like that already and now there’s a name for it. It’s not so different to things that have gone before. I think there’s a lot you can incorporate into it and I like it.

Full interview, conducted by John Doran, at thequietus.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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