Wadada Leo Smith & Bill Laswell: Akashic Meditation

Akashic Meditation

Soul-seeking trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and sought soul, bassist Bill Laswell, recorded live at New York City’s The Stone on April 22, 2014. A metropolis unto themselves, built by a masonry of interlocking musicality.

In this spontaneous set, listeners may open their eyes, only to find themselves behind another’s closed. Laswell slows the dance of time to near-stillness, so that every contraction of every muscle may be studied. Smith’s entry comes from within rather than from without, portioning flesh on scales counterweighted with virtue. Consciousness on either side denies the illusion of consensus reality and offers a purely sound-based alternative in its place. The psycho-sphere of these spiraling prevarications acts as glue for a jagged infrastructure.

Laswell has a leviathan’s heart for this stuff. His bass flashes and writhes with intrigue, far more than the sum of its plastic, wood, and strings. And because the machinations of that instrument rotate on linguistic axes, a sense of communication is vital to understanding his improvisational cartography. It is at one moment a bodhisattva of desert suns, the next a dying gamelan courting the moon. It listens to its own heartbeat and tracks the decimation of rhythms.

Smith, for his part, treats the skin as a palimpsest of discovery. His breath, the written word to Laswell’s speech, resonates through a brass menagerie of travel. As distant as he is present, he is a nomad in search of the next melodic attachment.

Distortions in both look back with forward eyes as regularity subsumes, is subsumed, and touches off a limpid and final spark after an elliptical net catches Smith’s reborn self.

The Akashic meditation is not a conversation but a conversion. A reverse alchemy that turns gold into lead. Here you will find no towering, canonical monuments, but only ruins of such raw power that every crumbling edifice yields the scripture of change.

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