The ‘Outland’ album series, a collaboration between American bassist-producer Bill Laswell and the late German musician Pete Namlook, is set for a release on 13th October 2023 via Cold Spring. The This 6xCD box set holds the duo’s rather innovative approach to ambient and electronic music.
Spanning five albums released over a thirteen-year period starting in 1994, the box set serves as a tribute to the creative chemistry between Laswell and Namlook. The set comes in a lavish matte-finish box, housing the five “Outland” albums in separate matte sleeves with all-new designs. All audio tracks have been fully remastered.
The box set also includes a new album, “Blackland”, featuring dense, bass space drone compositions by Laswell. Additionally, it contains an exclusive card featuring an essay about the project, penned by Laswell himself.
Pioneers in Their Own Right
When Laswell and Namlook first joined forces, both were already established figures in the music industry. Laswell, based in New York, was a renowned producer with a diverse client list that spanned multiple genres. He had also founded the Axiom label in 1989, contributing to groundbreaking work in ambient, dub, and world music. Namlook, a native of Frankfurt, was a key player in the ambient techno scene and the founder of the label FAX +49-69/450464.
The “Outland” series represents a fusion of the duo’s distinct musical styles. It explores sound as a medium for emotional and contemplative experiences. Laswell’s signature basslines and experimental soundscapes blend with Namlook’s ethereal textures and complex sonic layering. Each album offers a unique auditory experience, ranging from ambient tranquility to cosmic intensity.
The Genesis of the Collaboration
The partnership began after Namlook discovered that Laswell had used samples from early Fax releases in his own projects. What started as a straightforward exchange quickly evolved into a mutual admiration. “We began sending music back and forth, from Frankfurt to Brooklyn and back,” Laswell explains. This led to multiple collaborations, including other series like “Psychonavigation” and “The Dark Side Of The Moog”.
Laswell recalls the inception of “Outland” during an Asian tour with his friend Akira Sakata. “I managed to record a lot of traditional Mongolian music, which is heavy drone singing and the ultimate ambient. I brought these recordings to Pete in Frankfurt, and that was the start of ‘Outland’,” he says.
Laswell also shares a memory of Namlook, who passed away in 2012. “He told me about the start of his career, playing guitar by a river. I think that’s where his ambient obsession began,” he says. This inspired Laswell to record a tribute track, “By A River (for Peter)”, which was released in 2013.
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