Bill Laswell has managed to have his hand in a lot of things,
and just about all of it good. His music has always managed
to have a certain degree of culture and has maintained a quality
that many artists wish they could consistently produce. Filmtracks
2000 is an amalgam of genres, fusing jazz-like bass lines,
ambient sounds and solid backbone of Middle East culture and
music into one album.
Most of the album caries a low-key tone, but at time, the
beat and pace does pick up, giving enough variety to keep
the formula from getting stale. Oman is an excellent
opening track that sets the pace for the rest of the album.
It slowly opens to a casual drum & bass populated with
a citar string arrangement that adds a great depth to the
track. From that point, the album flows on, raising it's voice
when it needs to. There's a casualness to the music that makes
it so easy to listen to.
There really are some wonderfully written tracks on this
album. With such a huge cultural influence mixed in with the
wide variety of style that Laswell already displays, you'll
find this album hard not to appreciate. Portals has
a great grove and even some power when compared to other tracks.
You come away wishing it was longer because the beat and bass
line is so catchy. Turf War may be the most straight-forward
and mainstream track on the album, but that doesn't make it
any worse than the others. In fact, it acts as a sturdy column
by which the more ambient tracks can hinge from. Oum el
Bouaghi and OHagi Baig show a larger cultural influence.
Siren Song provides a strong horn piece that just seems
to fit so well.
Maybe the only failing I have with this album is that so
many of the tracks are short and that they just end way to
early. Many times, I just wish certain songs, like Soldiers
of Misfortune and the aforementioned Portals, carried
If you were ever interested in giving Bill Laswell a try,
this is as good a place to start. It has a large amount of
variety but is casual enough to survive repeated listenings.
Fans of more radio-friendly music might not appreciate it
as much as those who enjoy more diverse and experimental works.
This is the kind of album that open-minded listeners will