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Material - Hallucination Engine CD (album) cover

HALLUCINATION ENGINE

Material

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.53 | 19 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.5 stars. MATERIAL evolved out of the remains of Daevid Allen's New York Gong project. Bill Laswell is the main man here as he had a part in the writing and arranging of all of these compositions except that WEATHER REPORT song "Cucumber Slumber" that they cover here. He's also the Producer and adds bass, effects, loops, beats and more. There are 20 musicians helping out in this ambitious release including bass player extraordinaire Jonas Hellborg, SHAKTI violinist L. Shankar, World famous tabla player Zakir Hussain and Wayne Shorter himself on a variety of saxes. There is a very strong Indian vibe to the music thanks to Hussain, Shankar and many others who are from the India region. Even vocally we get lyrics in the Indian language. So you could call this World Music but it's also jazzy. There are instruments used on here that I've never heard of let alone knowing what they sound like, so this is a bit of a nightmare trying to describe what I'm hearing. The music is exotic and very catchy with some absolutely killer atmospheric passages.

"Black Light" has this spacey and spooky intro then sax arrives a minute in followed by a full sound. Nice. I like the bass here. This sax driven melody is so catchy that I was singing it at work one evening as I had been just listening to it as I pulled in. Shorter is fantastic here but there's so much going on. A calm before 6 minutes with ethnic sounds then it kicks back in a minute later. "Mantra" has this dark atmosphere to start with electronics. It kicks in just before 2 minutes signaled by this shrill Indian instrument. Percussion and beats as drums and bass follow. Catchy and oh so trippy. Man that bass sounds good. "Ruins(Submutation Dub)" has ethnic female vocals, bass, drums, atmosphere and more. There's what sounds like a slow reggae beat that will come and go throughout. Violin plays over top. It turns haunting after 4 1/2 minutes then the bass returns at 6 minutes. That beat with female vocals is back. There's that reggae beat created by the piano this time. The violin is back as themes are repeated.

"Eternal Drift" is my favourite track. Haunting flute-like sounds, female vocal melodies and more. The guitar comes in as well. Love this stuff. That guitar line melts me as it brings back the eighties for me. It picks up around 2 minutes and then the sax arrives as drums, bass and percussion helps out. When Shorter stops we get such a flavoured soundscape. Curry anyone? Shorter is back after 4 minutes. "Words Of Advice" seems to get talked about more than the music but this drops it a half star for me. It seems so out of place on here. Anyway it's funny advice for young and old but it reminds me of back in the day listening to comedy records. After several listens the jokes weren't that funny any more while I find the opposite is true with music, the more you play the better it gets. As he speaks we get a chilled out jazz backdrop.

"Cucumber Slumber(Fluxis Mix)" is of course from "Mysterious Traveller" that great WEATHER REPORT album. Atmosphere and haunting vocal melodies to start as percussion, electronics and more kick in quickly. Ahhh this sounds familiar 2 minutes in when Shorter arrives. Check it out 6 minutes in with so many sounds happening at once. A groovy tune. "The Hidden Garden/ Naima" features lots of exotic sounds including orchestral ones. Male vocals too and they're Indian I believe. A beat joins in. Catchy stuff man. It starts to settle right down 8 1/2 minutes in as the second part of the song arrives. No beat or groove here just atmosphere as sporadic sounds come and go the rest of the way. "Shadows Of Paradise" opens with atmosphere and violin. This is a dreamy section. A beat before 2 1/2 minutes as it picks up. I love how this sounds after 8 minutes although the unending violin gets a little annoying. A calm a minute later to the end.

I've grown to love this album despite not being big on World Music, it's just so inventive yet catchy. One of the best releases from 1994 no doubt.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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