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Published: 2001/12/19
by Pat Buzby

Warszawa – Praxis

Innerhythmic Records 003
Between his occasional star turns as Mick Jagger producer, Herbie Hancock collaborator and Miles Davis remixer, Bill Laswell has long been occupied with the intersection of the avant-garde and funk. One of his more notable projects to emerge in the 90’s was Praxis, which introduced two new metal-funk discoveries (guitarist Buckethead and drummer Brain) jamming with P-Funk vets Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell. Since the first release, the P-Funkateers have moved on, but Buckethead, Laswell, and Brain have remained, joined by an assortment of DJ’s.
This release, recorded in Poland, is a typical outing for the more recent configuration of this group. It begins with a 21-minute piece apparently solely featuring the DJ’s (Mixmaster Mike and phonosycographDISK), before gradually introducing the live players. If my ears serve me well, only the last two cuts on this 40-minute disk feature all five, which points at one of the disappointing aspects of this set. There is some hot DJ’ing, and some strong playing, but only periodically do the elements intersect. As well, although the fourth cut, Destroyer, gets rather intense, the finale (Fifth Element) ends on an anticlimactic note.
"Warszawa" doesn’t seem to be a major statement. However, this is another Laswell excursion, somewhat like the statements Miles put out once or twice a year in the early 70’s, and is worth a listen or two for those intrigued by his distinctive terrain.

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