Praxis – Profanation: Preparation For a Coming Darkness

January 01, 1970



It’s been
a while since Praxis, the improvisational psychedelic funk metal collective led
by bassist/producer Bill Laswell, last hit the studio. Recorded in the
mid-2000s, issued in Japan in 2008 and finally seeing a U.S. release, Profanation: Preparation For a Coming
returns the band to its early-‘90s core of Laswell, drummer Brain,
guitarist Buckethead and keyboardist Bernie Worrell, with turntablist
PhonosycographDISK replacing Grandmixer DXT, and various guests on tap. Though
the title indicates an apocalyptic theme, in truth Profanation works best as a series of musical snapshots
incorporating the various styles with which Laswell is obsessed.


 “Galaxies,” featuring Killah Priest, and
“Revelations Part 2,” starring the late Rammellzee, both marry rap with
sizzling hard rock in unions that will make you forget the stiff-hipped thud of
‘90s rap metal. “Worship,” with Buckethead associate Maximum Bob on vocals,
goes straight for the arena rock jugular, while “Furies,” assisted by Iggy Pop,
inverts same into a sort of avant garde AOR satire. System of a Down leader
Serj Tankian drops by with “Sulfur and Cheese,” a defiantly odd track that
wouldn’t sound out of place on his recent solo records, while underground rock
gadfly Mike Patton enlivens the overtly dissonant “Larynx” with some wordless
weirdness. “Ruined” features Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida in a mournful death
dance with Laswell’s bass and electronics, while “Babylon Blackout”
incorporates Japanese improv master Yoshihide Otomo into sinister space dub. “Endtime”
strips down to the core instrumental ensemble and proves a meditative comedown
from the preceding madness.


No matter
what the approach, though, Laswell and Brain dig deep into the rhythm pocket,
while Buckethead sprays his particular brand of six-string spew – like Eddie
Van Halen with a sense of humor and about 20 acid blotters – over and under the
arrangements.  Praxis isn’t for everyone
– rock and funk fans will likely think the band far too eccentric, while avant
gardists may not appreciate its predilection for rock riffology and metal
melody. Given chance, however, Profanation is a satisfying mix of adventure and accessibility.



DOWNLOAD: “Furies,” “Galaxies,” “Babylon Blackout” MICHAEL

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