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Format: 6 x CD BOX
Label & Cat.Number: Cold Spring CSR327BX
Release Year: 2023
Note: re-issue of the five albums released 1994 - 2007 in the OUTLAND series, plus a new "bass space drone" LASWELL album, all in a sturdy box! - " 'Outland' became a fusion of their individual musical sensibilities that resulted in a unique set of releases. At the heart of the series is an exploration of sound as a vehicle for emotion and contemplation, with Laswell's signature basslines and experimental soundscapes interweaving seamlessly with Namlook's ethereal textures and intricate sonic layering."
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €47.50
More InfoThe 'Outland' album series was a collaborative endeavour by the visionary US bassist-producer Bill Laswell and the late German musician Peter Namlook that pushed the boundaries of dark ambient and electronic music. Spanning five albums released over a thirteen year period from 1994, this new boxset serves as a testament to the creative synergy between the two masterminds.
At the time the duo joined forces, the New York-based Laswell was already a famous producer with a massive client list that included cutting-edge rock, pop, funk, jazz and electronic artists, but he had also founded the Axiom label in 1989 and been responsible for groundbreaking work in genres that included ambient, dub and world music. Namlook was recognised as a pioneering figure in the ambient techno scene, having founded the label FAX +49-69/450464 in his native Frankfurt in 1992.
'Outland' became a fusion of their individual musical sensibilities that resulted in a unique set of releases. At the heart of the series is an exploration of sound as a vehicle for emotion and contemplation, with Laswell's signature basslines and experimental soundscapes interweaving seamlessly with Namlook's ethereal textures and intricate sonic layering. Each album is characterised by a sense of expansiveness, taking listeners on a voyage through rarely charted sonic dimensions. All have the ability to evoke a wide range of emotions and have their own distinctive sonic palette, ranging from ambient tranquility to cosmic intensity.
'Outland' has endured as an influential touchstone, its impact felt not only in its captivating soundscapes but also in its invitation to engage in deep introspection and cosmic contemplation. With each album, the duo beckoned listeners to transcend the mundane and embark on a sonic voyage into the extraordinary, where sound becomes a conduit for spiritual and artistic expression.
The lavish matte-finish boxset opens to the 5 "Outland" albums in separate matte sleeves, with all-new designs, and all audio completely remastered. This box also contains a new addition to the OUTLAND series - an album of dense, bass space drone by Bill Laswell, entitled "Blackland". The boxset also contains an exclusive card with an essay about the project written by BIll Laswell, July 2023.
Their collaboration actually began after Namlook discovered that several samples from early Fax releases had been utilised for Laswell's own projects, prompting an initial forthright exchange that quickly turned into a deep mutual admiration. "We started to send music back and forth, Frankfurt to Brooklyn and back again," explains Laswell. "There were so many recordings and different collaborations that several of them turned into a series. In addition to 'Outland', there was 'Psychonavigation', 'The Dark Side Of The Moog' and more."
For 'Outland', he recalls that "I had done an Asian tour with my friend Akira Sakata where I managed to record a lot of traditional music in Mongolia, which is heavy drone singing and the ultimate ambient. When I was in Europe, I brought these recordings to Pete and we worked on them in Frankfurt. That was the start of 'Outland', which then continued for another four releases."
He also reveals that Namlook told him about the very start of his career. "He was playing guitar and working in a bank. Every day, on his way home with his guitar, he would pass a river and stop and play with the river flowing. I think that's where his ambient obsession began. I recorded a piece with Bernie Worrell entitled 'By A River (for Peter)', which is the first track of the box set compilation 'Die Welt ist Klang: A Tribute to Pete Namlook', which was released in 2013, a year after his death."
CD1: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann. Written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Mongolian voices and instruments by Nicky Skopelitis & Oz Fritz.
CD2: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann. Written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Ethnic sounds recorded in West Africa by Oz Fritz. Recorded at Klanglabor, Frankfurt.
CD3: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann. Written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Recorded at Klanglabor, Frankfurt & Traben-Trarbach.
CD4: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann. Written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Recorded at Klanglabor, Frankfurt & Traben-Trarbach.
CD5: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann. Written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Recorded at Orange Music, West Orange,NJ, and Klanglabor Hödeshof.
CD6: Bill Laswell: Bass, effects. Engineering: James Dellatacoma. Recorded at Orange Music, West Orange,NJ (Bassmatter, BMI).
"Quite a catch and a very pleasantly surprising one. I would not have imagined that Cold Spring Records, known for all their darkness, would dip into ambient electronic pioneer Pete Namlook's (1960-2012) work, particularly his piece with Bill Laswell. The latter is a bass player and producer with a massive body of work, mainly outside Vital Weekly (Herbie Hancock's 'Rockit' is a VW HQ favourite, sometimes), both on bass and production duties. Pete Namlook played electronic ambient music, usually without too many rhythms, but he wasn't too shy to put a full set on. Namlook's catalogue is massive, as at one point, he released a CD every month on his FAX +49-69/450464 label. He had a line of collaborators with whom he worked a lot (Klaus Schulze, Tetsu Inoue, and Richie Hawtin, for instance). With Bill Laswell he recorded five parts of 'Outland', which are now re-issued with a bonus disc of a new work, 'Blackland', by Laswell. There was more work by the two, 'Psychonavigation', which also spanned various CDs (and maybe something to come in the future?), which is one I really enjoyed. I could call myself a Namlook fan, yet I also know I heard maybe 50% of his work. Back in the day, I couldn't afford to buy everything I wanted, and Namlook's output was, as said, massive. From the original 'Outland' albums, I only heard two. It is interesting to play these six works as they provide an excellent picture of the diversity of ambient house music, at least in the approach of Namlook and Laswell. There isn't one kind of ambient house. The word 'house', as in 'house music', is a loose term anyway in this respect, indicating dance music. Ambient House never relies too much on strict dance beats but uses more complex rhythms, such as on 'Outland Two - African Virus', which is more exotic, wilder and sometimes indeed more African. 'Outland Three' (no subtitle) has rhythms that are a bit more straightforward and minimal, but it's not something for the dance floor. On 'Outland Four', the beats are more dub-like in some of the pieces (as with all of these pieces, it moves through various ideas and textures per album), another interest of many ambient house musicians. On the other side of the musical spectrum, we find music devoid of rhythm, spacious synthesizers, minimalist drones, and perhaps something ambient in the truest sense. As with many Namlook releases, there is a certain directness about the music, indicating that the music is one long session, a live-in-studio approach, with mixing and editing afterwards. There is not much extra information in this release explaining methods. The whole live-in-studio approach might be something that is only in my mind. Each album is a trip, and so is the whole five-plus hours of this. I played this for the first time in one row on a lazy Sunday, sipping tea after a long night. Ambient music is the preferred waking-up music for me. Maybe with the idea that my living room is a sort of chill-out place today, as some of this music is clearly the intended soundtrack for such a place." [FdW/Vital Weekly]
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