Aiyb Dieng,
(Subharmonic, 1996)

The African dub of Rhythmagick features the crisp, fluid ethnic percussion of Trilok Gurtu matching the talking drum, congas and more of master percussionist Aiyb Dieng. Reeds are played by Pharaoh Sanders. Of course, the serpentine cosmic jazz from Sanders' tenor saxophone shows up, but Sanders also plays the full, Arabic-sounding double-reed North African oboe known as a ghaita, a type of shawm. (Inexplicably, Sanders is credited with "metal and wood flutes.")

Also adding to this album are two additional bata players: Daniel Ponce and Carlos Cordova. Their brisk, percolating beats on that double-headed drum add to the rich, layers of percussion. That layering is the plastic sonic mosaic one comes to expect from a Bill Laswell production. Laswell himself is on hand for deep, trademark "low bass" while Bootsy Collins adds a touch of psychedelic soul guitar and "Space Bass." The high, melodic timbres are not abandoned, but just subtly understated through effective treatment on the 6- and 12-string guitars from master of the frets, Nicky Skopelitis. Bernie Worrell adds melody and rhythms to this afro-dub beat creation on Hammond B-3 and clavinet -- the keyboard of funk. Primarily an instrumental album, vocals that are present come from street-poet and rap forefather Umar Bin Hassan (The Last Poets).

[ by Tom Schulte ]
Rambles: 18 May 2002