Bill Laswell & Pete Namlook - Outland 6CD

6CD set released by Cold Spring in 2022.

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6CD set released by Cold Spring.

The 'Outland' album series was a collaborative endeavour by the visionary US bassist-producer Bill Laswell and the late German musician Peter Namlook that pushed the boundaries of dark ambient and electronic music. Spanning five albums released over a thirteen year period from 1994, this new boxset serves as a testament to the creative synergy between the two masterminds.

At the time the duo joined forces, the New York-based Laswell was already a famous producer with a massive client list that included cutting-edge rock, pop, funk, jazz and electronic artists, but he had also founded the Axiom label in 1989 and been responsible for groundbreaking work in genres that included ambient, dub and world music. Namlook was recognised as a pioneering figure in the ambient techno scene, having founded the label FAX +49-69/450464 in his native Frankfurt in 1992.

'Outland' became a fusion of their individual musical sensibilities that resulted in a unique set of releases. At the heart of the series is an exploration of sound as a vehicle for emotion and contemplation, with Laswell's signature basslines and experimental soundscapes interweaving seamlessly with Namlook's ethereal textures and intricate sonic layering. Each album is characterised by a sense of expansiveness, taking listeners on a voyage through rarely charted sonic dimensions. All have the ability to evoke a wide range of emotions and have their own distinctive sonic palette, ranging from ambient tranquility to cosmic intensity.

'Outland' has endured as an influential touchstone, its impact felt not only in its captivating soundscapes but also in its invitation to engage in deep introspection and cosmic contemplation. With each album, the duo beckoned listeners to transcend the mundane and embark on a sonic voyage into the extraordinary, where sound becomes a conduit for spiritual and artistic expression.

The lavish matte-finish boxset opens to the 5 "Outland" albums in separate matte sleeves, with all-new designs, and all audio completely remastered. This box also contains a new addition to the OUTLAND series - an album of dense, bass space drone by Bill Laswell, entitled "Blackland". The boxset also contains an exclusive card with an essay about the project written by BIll Laswell, July 2023.

Their collaboration actually began after Namlook discovered that several samples from early Fax releases had been utilised for Laswell's own projects, prompting an initial forthright exchange that quickly turned into a deep mutual admiration. "We started to send music back and forth, Frankfurt to Brooklyn and back again," explains Laswell. "There were so many recordings and different collaborations that several of them turned into a series. In addition to 'Outland', there was 'Psychonavigation', 'The Dark Side Of The Moog' and more."

For 'Outland', he recalls that "I had done an Asian tour with my friend Akira Sakata where I managed to record a lot of traditional music in Mongolia, which is heavy drone singing and the ultimate ambient. When I was in Europe, I brought these recordings to Pete and we worked on them in Frankfurt. That was the start of 'Outland', which then continued for another four releases."

He also reveals that Namlook told him about the very start of his career. "He was playing guitar and working in a bank. Every day, on his way home with his guitar, he would pass a river and stop and play with the river flowing. I think that's where his ambient obsession began. I recorded a piece with Bernie Worrell entitled 'By A River (for Peter)', which is the first track of the box set compilation 'Die Welt ist Klang: A Tribute to Pete Namlook', which was released in 2013, a year after his death." 

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