Today marks the 69 birthday of bassist, songwriter, producer, label-owner and art provocateur Bill Laswell. Known for his extensive blending of musicians and genres a significant amount his work is marked by intriguing occult references, let’s say the “Malay Black Djinn Curse” by Hakim Bey that graces the CD booklet of Praxis’ Transmutation album as well as the cover art of many of the releases on his Axiom label. But Laswell’s been cagey about explaining his beliefs in such things overall. Here’s an interesting snippet of an interview that ran in in 2017:

What elements of Burroughs’ work do you most connect with?

Early on, I realized my interest in Burroughs’ work was less to do with the cut-up novels and more with the documented research and investigation of the human condition, technology, control, travel, dreams, drug culture, shamanism, and Hassan-I Sabbāh. Books like The Job, The Electronic Revolution and especially, The Third Mind with Brion Gysin were particularly important to me.

Through Burroughs, I began to discover Gysin and later Paul Bowles. When I realized they had all been living in Tangier for many years, I decided I had to go there. They were my initial inspiration for traveling in North Africa—way before the music recordings.

As for integrating Burroughs’ work into the music, it’s not about the history of a literary collaboration, but rather the complete fusion in a praxis of two subjectivities that metamorphosize into a third. From this collusion, a new author emerges—an absent third person, invisible and beyond reach, recording the silence.

Read the whole schmear:

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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