Speaking of prolific, Bill Laswell‘s discography (whether working with Material or solo or any number of other configurations) goes magnitudes deeper and wider than the combined talents of some entire nations, with 1982’s Baselines being his first official solo effort. In the case of Upright Man, that meant laying down a funky, not too busy groove, then dropping in a few samples from the Old Testament to overall cool and mysterious effect.
“Title track from Material‘s first proper album, which was before main man Bill Laswell had played with EVERYONE on planet earth, become a household name (assuming you lived in a cool household). As a friend put it once, it’s jazz without the annoying indulgence, funk without the sleazy silliness. Not that I really felt that way about funk. But I could agree about the jazz. Always nice to hear the egos reigned in, everyone serving the groove … in a chaotic sort of way. And who better to work all that than a bass player.” (Philip Random)
Skull rattling dub poetry c/o Linton Kwesi Johnson makes it clear that reggae music is mostly about the bass, the way it makes a body (and thus a whole culture) move. The drums, they just keep things rock steady. The guitars, keyboards, horns etc – they’re just along for the ride. It’s the bass that’s going places, and sometimes the poetry, “like a righteous harm, giving off wild like madness.”