Exposé Online banner

Praxis — Sound Virus
(M.O.D. Technologies , 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-10-14

Sound Virus Cover art

Sacrifist (1993) and Metatron (1994) stand as a pinnacle (or nadir, in some opinions) of the cross-fertilization between brutal heavy rock and the avant-garde. And while other Praxis albums have touched on other things (funk, world music, electronics, and so on), those two held a tight focus on over-the-top noisy experimentation. Sound Virus is billed as “re-stored, edited, enhanced and remastered” versions of tracks from them, which makes it “not a compilation.” Whatever you say, guys – I’m guessing that most people who love the original albums would probably want this, and we wouldn’t want to discourage them. As for myself, it’s been so long since I heard either of them that I’d hesitate to make any comparisons whatsoever. Listening to this music now, it certainly doesn’t sound dated – while many other bands have entered into this general space since Praxis sort of invented it, these guys had their own thing. That’s due in large part to the prodigious and eccentric talents of the musicians involved. Leader Bill Laswell’s bass is mind-boggling in its variety, sounding funky with crazy effects one minute, then crushing the low end with improbable levels of distortion the next. The guitar is handled (and mis-handled) by Buckethead, whose name at the mere mention will conjure up ridiculous flurries of notes (and goofy narratives about chickens, but we needn’t go there). This album finds him occasionally indulging those tendencies (the guitar part anyway), but also delving much further into some really freaky territory, with his effects pedals seemingly taking over and declaring war on such trivialities as keys, notes, and scales. “Puny humans with the pathetic sounds you call music, you have no idea what realms of sound lie beyond!” Brain provides the rhythmic backbone, mostly in the neighborhood of overdriven pummeling on the drums, but with some respite for breathing, if not actual relaxation. John Zorn shows up for some squawking and squealing on the sax from time to time; Mick Harris of Napalm Death and Yamatsuka Eye of the Boredoms provide some manic vocalization. In all of this, it’s impossible to make out how much of the sound was produced by the original musicians and how much is the result of the aforementioned “enhanced” thing. But that’s neither here nor there. For anyone not afraid of music that gets really noisy, this is an essential release, and a master class in both avant-metal and creative production.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Brian Patrick Carroll (Buckethead / Death Cube K), Bill Laswell, Praxis, John Zorn

More info
http://modtechnologies.11spot.com/praxis-sound-virus-digital-album.html

Latest news

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Tibbetts - Steve Tibbetts – At long last! Finally the eponymous first album by Minnesota guitarist Steve Tibbetts has been reissued. Folks familiar only with his work of late may be a little surprised by the flowing acoustic...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues