Phasing Laswell’s Envelope

I’d heard his work and influence all around, but I’m trying to remember when producer/bassist Bill Laswell actually first showed up on my radar. I suspect it was in the early 90s when an engineer who was recording my band at the time hipped me to the album “Cyclotron” by Blind Idiot God. It was—and remains to this day—a real trip. A Laswell-produced trip. It was guitar power-trio space-age hardcore (?) with incredible guitar tone and riffs that cyclically slow down and speed up (a great musical concept I’ve been meaning to steal but still haven’t). And, due to the sheer intensity, just to cleanse the palate, every third track is spacy dub reggae. Laswell is a big and highly legit dub force, by the way, having worked extensively with Sly and Robbie, Yellowman, Lee Scratch Perry and even (posthumously) Bob Marley himself.

But the range of Laswell’s work (spanning from 1978 to present day) is astounding. Stuff you’d know… Herbie Hancock “Rock It”!, Mick Jagger, Brian Eno, PIL, Yoko Ono, Peter Gabriel, Blur, Bootsy Collins, Miles Davis (posthumous reconstructions), Fela Kuti, Motorhead, Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Stevie Salas, Bernie Worrell… and then a gazillion fascinating artists you probably don’t know, probably like the aforementioned Blind Idiot God. Much to explore for all of us.

As an eclectic and vastly experienced producer, you can be sure Laswell has explored the outer limits of sound. And he’s still found some new sounds by plugging into Pigtronix effects!

Check out this special creation by Laswell and longtime engineer/collaborator Bob Musso, made to explore the potential of the Envelope Phaser:

“The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser has been on my pedal board since I got it about three years ago. I’ve been using it mostly for low end. It’s very smooth and big…very different from other pedals I’ve used…feels right… On the Pigtronix demo track we used the envelope on electric bass and also processed other sounds (beats, rhythms) with the pedal… Ideal for experimental processing and creating different effects… Praise The Pig!”

Bill Laswell, September 27, 2013, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC