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

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Neil Haverstick - If the Earth Was a Woman – Haverstick is a pioneering guitarist, known for his work in microtonal scales. The two previous releases we have reviewed in these pages — Acoustic Stick and Other Worlds — were each the...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues