Praxis On Unknown Sundays 2024


How about the very definition of PRAXIS, before we start, so you understand how fitting, and tied to this the band and name are?  It is the exercise or practice of an art, science, or skill.  Well there’s the skills of their art through practice.  Their practice and conduct is professional, unbound and applied in a theory (practical application of a theory is also in the definition).  Check mark the perfect name for this avant-garde, genre snapping progressive jazz-fusion trio, which has the brilliant Bill Laswell as it’s head and major theorist.  Although, one can make a very strong, sound argument to the theories of the other two gentlemen in the band (but we will get there – trust me).

Let us start with the main theorist, producer, mixer and bassist, Bill Laswell. His production list, the people he has worked with and for, is as endless as his overall catalog of art. His contribution to music and a lot in the avant-garde that has made-it-to-the-masses — is of legendary status for many of us in the music appreciating multiverse.  And, he is very Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame worthy.  In fact, for me, he is the largest ever over-site in the entire industry currently.  The man has been an important, prolific and impressionist at the helm of production and techniques in some of the most music challenging genres, as well as a respected bassist and collaborator, which would shame a lot of those already in the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, as the quantity and quality of musicians he’s worked with in one way or another.  I feel the name dropping could go on a while, so I’ve chosen those that might be in the wheelhouse of most music appreciators.

Bill Laswell’s Short List of Musicians He Has Worked With/For

  • Buckethead
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Medeski, Martin, and Wood
  • Ramones
  • Mick Jagger
  • John Zorn
  • Jonas Hellborg
  • George Clinton
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Serj Tankian
  • Ginger Baker
  • Swans
  • Carlos Santana
  • Public Image Limited
  • Lenny White
  • Brian Eno
  • David Byrne
  • Iggy Pop
  • George Clinton
  • Bootsy Collins
  • Yoko Ono
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Motorhead

Remixes for Popular Artists/Bands

  • Miles Davis
  • Tori Amos
  • Sting
  • Nine Inch Nails

He has even made multiple record labels to invest and fund artists and bands in the avant-garde regions of music with little names but excellent concepts like Viggo Mortensen  (actor:  Lord of the Rings), as well as L. Shankar, Sonny Sherrock, Garrison Hawk, and Lily Hayden (violinist) and progressive impressive bands like Arcana, Death Cube K, Octave of the Holy Innocents (this one was produced and done by Jonas Hellborg), Shine, Gorgone and Thanatopsis as well as funding his dub and ambient projects that are ranked up there with the greats like Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

Enter Buckethead (enter Buckethead Land, if you dare – and you will understand why).  If you don’t know who he is, well you’ve got hundreds of albums [pikes + more] ranging from space guitar virtuosity that will feel like you jumped into a Japanese Anime movie and got spit out a fifth dimensional hole in his very own “abuse”ment park, and to those of the utmost guitar playing beauty that feel like Al Di Meola (like the gorgeous one of a kind album, Colma).  But, he’s also a maestro of jazz guitar fusion; contemporary or avant-garde.  He can mood you however he feels, and he can build a bridge in music to any ensemble (yes, even if the ensemble is Guns ‘N’ Roses).  His playing is legendary.  He is definitively one of the best guitarist in the world today who lives in and plays in any environment of music form.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Spinal Clock, where the entire album is done on banjos (so fuck off with all your other guitarist you want to argue about).

Then you get the accompaniment drumming avant-expertise of Primus’ Brain, Bryan Mantia, who has also, like Buckethead played with Guns N Roses.  He’s also in the industrial metal band Godflesh.  But, what makes him unique in his trade is his ability to find the drum and bass connection in any genre (he’s even drummed for BT the DJ, and Crystal Method so fuck off there, too, with your list of drummers that could pull this off — although I’m partial to Andy Edwards maybe being able to do this, too).

What is Praxis in the grand scheme of the music multiverse?  It’s everything these three extraordinary, accomplished and envelope-pushing geniuses can come up with, and who they allow to venture into their creative cavern of calculated chaos, which has featured the likes of Bootsy Collins, Serj Tankian of System of A Down, Mike Patton, Lily Hayden on Violin, Toshinori Kondo (trumpet), and Iggy Pop and all kinds of turntable specialists, which I cannot say I have enough experience to gush over (although DJ Rap would have been cool).  Call Praxis your progressive jazz-rock avant-gardists extraordinaire with a heavy side of groove-funk and sudden shred (and you still don’t know what I’m leading you to – do you?).

How do I prepare you for this?  You have to be progressive rock to start, and you need to have a “metal” mentality, but you have to bridge that into transpositioning that into jazz improv unlike that you will ever probably heard in your lifetime. You have to be willing to adjust to the abrasive and then come to the spaces in-between that temper the shock and awe. These are extremely challenging, yet rewarding listens in all around sound, production, mixing, and technical composition – even if they only bridge a short time span. The solo-ing is monumentous, but I think you already expected that. The rest will have you off-guard, possibly trembling, but it will leave it’s mark on you, egging you into another track — another album.  Praxis is not for those with a “perfect ear” — don’t even attempt unless you are some kind of sado-musicist (I’m making that a word now and I own it). You will probably never recover (because you’re special, and I would hate to be the one that cost you you’re musical equilibrium — I couldn’t bare the responsibility).

For those of you that like to tread in the outer reaches of the music multiverse and risk a black hole you can never come out of unscathed — this is for you!  Buckethead fans, you already knew this was for you!  However, I do appreciate you carrying on with me through this article (maybe even the YouTube Video if you indulged me).  And, for the progressive rock die hards, Praxis is full tilt like that of Univers Zero and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and others in that realm (that maybe I don’t know of yet or forgot about).   And, if you dug a lot of these albums, you’re in luck, as Laswell and Buckethead have a few other side productions together that reach into the same, yet darker industrial pitch with Halloween like mojo on Gorgone, Death Cube K, and Thanatopsis. And, to go a little lighter, if this was a bit much for you, dig into Arcana, Shine, and there’s one produced and headed by the Jonas Hellborg called Octave of the Holy Innocent that you are going to have to have for sure (but they are much more accessible).

Albums by Praxis In My Collection

  • 1992: Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis)
  • 1993: Sacrifist
  • 1994: Metatron
  • 1998: Mold [Don’t have this, and I do not think Buckethead was present for]
  • 2008: Profanation (Preparation for a Coming Darkness) [I had it in my hands, but since cover looked like Transmutation, I thought I already had it.  Still don’t have it!]
  • 2015: Sound Virus [I do not have and I’m searching for]

Live[albums in my collection]

  • 1999: Warszawa
  • 2005: Zurich
  • 2007: Tennessee 2004
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