Material: Intonarumori


MATERIAL MASTERMIND BILL Laswell has more records to his discography than Picasso had sketches, but anyone who has trudged through more than a few of the three-dozen albums released every year with his name attached knows the musician's fusion runs hot and cold. Intonarumori's comparative consistency and strength lies in Laswell's newest strategy: including hip-hop MCs, from vets Rammellzee, Kool Keith, DXT, Eddie Def, and Flavor Flav to newer jack Killah Priest. Think of the results as a studio compilation album, with Laswell and band providing the low-key, pseudo-spooky atmospherics.

The album kicks off with a suitably abstract performance by hip-hop's consummate weirdo, Kool Keith, who raps, "Astronomical spirits beyond Enterprise/Dark reflections repeats/ Material, imperial." After those pickup lines, it's by-the-numbers Keith, as he lends yet more credence to the theory that the rapper is nothing more than a computer program randomly rhyming lines about space, sex, and science. Flav drops by to give us the time, hopped up on characteristically goofy rhymes such as "Office oven roaster/Put your bread in a doo-doo toaster." Cut loose from Chuck D's orbit, Flav momentarily subverts the serious "art" overtones that inevitably weigh down most Laswell creations.

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