Bill Laswell :: Dreams Of Freedom (Ambient Translations Of Bob Marley In Dub)

“Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted.” An iconoclast, Bill Laswell’s orbit is one to behold. Ambidextrous in approach, the bassist, label owner and producer’s fingerprints have graced all manner of jazz, funk, dub, and ambient works over the past four decades—often reinventing them in the process. Take Dreams Of Freedom (Ambient Translations Of Bob Marley In Dub), Laswell’s 1997 remix collection of the Bob Marley catalog. At eleven tracks, the set deftly works a seam that feels at once familiar yet pleasantly discordant. As an ambient exploration of dub, traces of Marley’s original compositions float in and out, at times cresting, though more often submerged in atmosphere. As Laswell’s paints the walls with sound, melodies appear and disappear. Spacious, impressionistic and meditative, Dreams proves the exception to the rule of the remix album—no small feat for a cottage industry with a history of often sideways results. In short, this is the rare instance of such a collection feeling essential.

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