Let Us Now Listen To The Discographies Of Various Musicians

Mike K

Praxis: Introduction and Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis)


Praxis are a supergroup of sorts - they're mainly centered around Buckethead, prolific bassist and producer Bill Laswell, and Bryan "Brain" Mantia (probably best known as a Replacement Scrappy Primus drummer), with Parliament Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell also playing on a few of their albums. As you might expect from the musicians' other projects, their music is essentially a mix of funk, metal, and general aural weirdness.

Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis) (1992)

To clarify, when I called Brain a Replacement Scrappy above, I didn't necessarily mean that I felt that way - on this album, he demonstrates that he's a skilled drummer who also just happened to show up on what are usually regarded as the two worst Primus albums. In fact, part of the reason the album works so well is Laswell and Brain laying down tight grooves for all those meedly-mee Buckethead guitar leads, record scratches, and unidentifiable noises to bounce around.

There are a few surprisingly gentle moments thrown in as breathers - "Animal Behavior" and "The Interworld And The New Innocence" both include long stretches of pensive, downright sorrowful Buckethead guitar work. Overall, though, the main vibe is chaos - funky, funky chaos.

Somewhat unfortunately, it closes on a track that's sort of frustrating for the same reasons the rest of the album is so damn cool: "Aftershock (Chaos Never Died)" is a fine, increasingly insane and frenetic funk groove for the first 4 and a half minutes, then it devotes about 11 more minutes to some admittedly spooky dissonant Bernie Worrell organ noodlings. Still, I cannot stress this album's overall enthusiasm awesomness enough, and I'm definitely looking forward to hearing the rest of their works.

Key tracks: Seven Laws Of Woo, Animal Behavior