OK, those of you who have had the misfortune to read any of my reviews (damn your eyes) know that I am a huge Bill Laswell fan. I think the man is an absolute genius. Even when he confuses the hell out of me (like with Imaginary Cuba), I appreciate what he’s doing, taking the music further than most are willing to even contemplate. Therefore, critically, I give him a lot of latitude (which I’m sure he appreciates).
You’re probably wondering if I’m reviewing the wrong album. After all, it’s attributed to the Ethiopian songstress, Gigi, right? So, what am I doing writing about Bill Laswell? Well, because this is really his album. Illuminated Audio is an ambient deconstruction of Gigi’s eponymous debut CD. This is nothing new for Laswell, who’s done the same thing with Bob Marley’s work (Dreams of Freedom), Carlos Santana’s (Divine Light) and Miles Davis’ (Panthalassa). While I’ve not heard the Marley and Santana projects, the thing that most impressed me with Panthalassa was the reverence Laswell maintained for Miles while constructing a unique, Laswellian vision for the music. Illuminated Audio, however, is all Bill. One has to really search for Gigi in an album that bears her name. Yes, the album is a fantastic, dubby, ambient trip well worth the listen, but it should definitely be credited as a Laswell project. Or, if they insist on crediting Gigi, they should retitled it Invisible Woman or Disappearing Acts.
Palm Pictures: http://www.palmpictures.com/