January 13, 2024

Fans of electronica particularly drone and darkly ambient material will be delighted with this stunning and exciting 6CD boxset that pulls together all five releases in the Outland series by musicians Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook.

Bill Laswell is an American bass player, producer and record label owner and has achieved legendary status across so many genres having been involved with so many bands that his work is literally uncountable. Pete Namlook (real name Kuhlmann) was a revolutionary German electronic musician, producer and composer and – like Laswell – was involved in many, many electronica projects over the years including extensive work with the one and only Klaus Schultze, he sadly he left us far too young in 2012 and the electronic world is much diminished following his passing.

The Outland project saw the duo put out five albums commencing with Outland – From The Earth To The Ceiling in1994 with there then being an extended hiatus and it was not until 2002 that the second instalment came out with Outland 2 being ambitiously subtitled as African Virus (Electronic Sonata With A Cold Loved By Nature) with the subsequent releases being more conservatively titled 3, 4 and 5 and coming out in 2003, 2004 And 2007 respectively.

The music is heavily textured and multi-layered and ranging across electronica and drone so if you are into early Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze plus newer outfits like Wings Of A Angel, Rojinski, Jack Hertz or Scott Lawlor then there is much here to captivate and enthral. There was a real synergy between the two and together music seemed to have no barriers with the Outland project being rather similar to Namlook’s Dark Side Of The Moog project with Klaus Schulze with all artists delighting in pushing the boundaries of where music can take you. For sure, if you like structure, melody and pop sensibilities then these works are probably not for you but if you desire experimentation and music without limits then press play, dim the lights and float away on an ethereal journey into the darker edges of musical fantasy.

The five albums have all been remastered and come in a flawless box that is almost too perfect to open and also contains notes about the project written by Bill Laswell himself. There is a neat bonus too with an additional disc entitled Outland 6 – Blackland which is a new 40-minute piece from Laswell which basically encapsulates everything that has gone before in a sonically dark piece and serves as an eloquent audio obituary for Namlook.

If you think you know everything about music then play this wonderful work and you will quickly realise that we walk the same path as some truly inspirational musicians and we need to be thankful that they have trail blazed for us.

Outland – production credits

  • CD1: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann, written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Mongolian voices and instruments by Nicky Skopelitis & Oz Fritz.
  • CD2: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann, written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Ethnic sounds recorded in West Africa by Oz Fritz. Recorded at Klanglabor, Frankfurt.
  • CD3: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann, written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Recorded at Klanglabor, Frankfurt & Traben-Trarbach.
  • CD4: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann, written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Recorded at Klanglabor, Frankfurt & Traben-Trarbach.
  • CD5: Produced by Peter Kuhlmann, written by Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook. Recorded at Orange Music, West Orange, NJ, and Klanglabor Hödeshof.
  • CD6: Bill Laswell: Bass, effects & engineering: James Dellatacoma. Recorded at Orange Music, West Orange, NJ (Bassmatter, BMI).