Bill Laswell: A Navel City/No One Is There
Bill Laswell: A Navel City/No One Is There
Artist Bill Laswell
Album A Navel City/No One Is There
Label Kanpai
Released 2/13/2005
On this new collaborative album, God Mountain label owner and versatile musician Hoppy Kamiyama joins up with bassist and producer Bill Laswell. The collaboration is an obvious move, as both Laswell and Kamiyama are disposed towards a glossy, well-polished, bassy mix that gives an accessible exterior to their experiments.

It’s an approach that can often obscure the music underneath the overbearing production, but on A Navel City the thick production sheen is perfectly suited to the eclectic mix of styles and techniques on display.

The music is a liquid blend of jazz, electronics, dub, and improv, with percussionist Kiyohiko Semba providing a sturdy rhythmic undercurrent to the seamless fusion of Laswell’s deep, throbbing bass and Kamiyama’s elusive streams of synth melodies and drones.

On “Sospirando”, Semba lays down a frenetic, shifty groove that evades classification just as readily as it snakes around the music’s deep-bass mystery. Kamiyama floats gorgeous shimmering melodies that fade in and out of the background, and synth squiggles periodically accent the rhythm. The whole thing has a sense of presence, a weighty feel that’s enhanced by Laswell’s impenetrable bass, with the production hanging over everything like a dark storm cloud, pregnant with rain.