Review Summary: An absolutely superb album that is the pinnacle of creativity. All the band members seem to be having a great time and the amount of originality and talent on this album is immense.Praxis
. Not many people have heard of them, but those who have know of their greatness. They are a fiercely experimental supergroup formed by Bill Laswell in 1990. The core group consists of Buckethead
, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Brain; however, there are frequently guests on their albums- including Serj Tankian, Iggy Pop, Maximum Bob, and many others. This album- Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis)
- was Praxis' first and considered by many to be their best. The songs oftentimes change genre mid-song which makes for a riveting rollercoaster of a listen- for example, Crash Victim/Black Science Navigator
goes from hard rock to turntables so suddenly that you'll wonder if it's the same song, and opener Blast/War Machine Dub
switches from thrash metal to ambience halfway through.
This album has 9 songs- one of which exceeds 16 minutes in length. The songs cover a lot of ground, from funk to metal to ambient to rock. If you enjoy original music that pushes boundaries then this album is for you. Buckethead's guitar riffs and solos are fantastic (this was actually one of the first albums that Buckethead ever appeared on). His solos are lightning fast and blend in with the music perfectly. Bootsy's bass playing is also excellent- his bass playing on Animal Behavior
is funky and on The Interworld And The New Innocence
he plays a great bass line that is emotional yet groovy at the same time. Bernie Worrell plays organ (and keyboards I believe), and on the album he has some solos (see Seven Laws Of Woo
and After Shock (Chaos Never Died)
). He is a famous keyboardist and plays his part well, despite in the background most of the time. Finally, Brain, who plays drums on this album, is also awesome. His fills are spot on and he has some truly great moments; the blast beating on Blast/War Machine Dub
and the beats on Interface/Stimulation Loop
Now that you know all this, let's get down to the tracks themselves. As I said before, there are 8 of them- the shortest one being 2:16 and the longest being 16:07. This album is truly one of the most original and entertaining listens out there, and I urge you to check it out.
Opener Blast/War Machine Dub
is superb. The drumming on this song is fantastic and so are Buckethead's mini-solos at the beginning. Then, as you're headbanging away, it suddenly changes... to ambience? That's right, the next section of this song is an ambient rock section that is absoutely amazing. Bootsy hits exactly the right bass notes at the right times and Buckethead's guitar comes in perfectly to create just the right amount of dissonance. Bernie also has some good playing on this track. This song truly has to be heard to be believed.
may be the shortest song on the album, but it is superb- and, arguably, the most straightforward song on the album. It starts immediatly, hitting you with a great riff- then, at the 33 second mark it changes to a funky track which features some excellent bass-playing from Bootsy and keyboards from Bernie. It feels really upbeat and reminds me of good times. This song also contains some great soloing by Buckethead during the song and he shreds the outro, too. Another excellent addition to the album.
Crash Victim/Black Science Navigator
is one of the more popular songs from the album, and is still played live at Buckethead concerts sometimes. It starts out with some ambient voice sample-type thing and then goes into a famous riff among Buckethead fans. The chorus speeds the song up with an almost country western-type feel with some computer noises overtop, but it goes back to the original riff after not too long. The main song ends with a great solo by Buckethead, and then it switches to turntabling by someone. The change is very sudden and at first listen who will probably say, "What?! This is still the same song?!" This is one of the more popular songs from the album, and for good reason- it's excellent.
is another popular song from the album- it was the single from the album and the only single that Praxis has ever released. It's the only song with vocals on the whole album which are performed by Bootsy Collins and are sung in a spoken word-type format kind of. The lyrics are pretty funny, with lines such as- "Let's save a little energy- just shut up, baby." However, what this song is most known for is the outro, which has become famous among Buckethead fans. It is emotional and superbly played. Buckethead' guitar tone here is amazing, and the dual guitars are perfect. It's one of the most tender moments on the whole album and you have to hear this outro if you are a fan of any kind of music.
Ahh... Seven Laws Of Woo
. Probably the most
popular song from this album. It starts out with an organ intro by Bernie that is superbly done. It takes a few listens to appreciate but once you do it adds a lot more to the song. After the about 1:20 organ intro, the rest of the band comes in with another infamous riff among Buckethead fans. It's a fairly simple riff (espeically for Buckethead) but it's still awesome. The chorus is great, with just the right amount of heavyness. Bernie's organ here is awesome and this may be some of the finest drumming by Brain, ever. It ends on an absolutely incredible solo by Buckethead- he multi-finger taps, picks fast, and goes crazy. This song just kicks so much ass, I can't even begin to explain it.
The Interworld And The New Innocence
is another popular song from this album that is slower, but still superb. In the beginning it features the sound of birds chattering along with Bootsy's bass on top of a mellow guitar riff. Once the full band comes in the song kicks into high gear though. About halfway through, in come Bernie, Brain, and Bootsy jamming it up with an emotive yet poignant riff, and then Buckethead joins in and plays amazingly. Bootsy bass playing here really is excellent. The ending of the song is also great- those notes that Buckethead plays feel like the perfect ending.
Dead Man Walking
starts out with some great shredding by Buckethead, and then goes into Skid's Looking Where?
from his first album (Bucketheadland), then back to the shredding, and then back to the song for a couple of seconds. It goes into a funk song from there with some more great shredding overtop by Buckethead. The outro is pretty good as well, but goes on for a while. This is a reat song, but just above average for this album's standrds.
Giant Robot/Machines in the Modern City/Godzilla
starts out with the theme from Giant Robot, a Japanese TV show that Buckethead likes and is inspired by. Then in comes a cool effect and we are treated to a weird-sounding riff overtop of some good drumming by Brain. After a while, the Giant Robot riff comes back in, but with a different guitar effect and played slightly differently. Buckethead also adds a cool little riff to the end of it. Then comes an outro. Again, this song isn't bad, it's just kind of long and compared to some of the other songs on this album, just about or above average.
After Shock (Chaos Never Died)
is the last and longest song on the album. This song starts out strong with some cool funk riffing and great drumming by Brain once again. There is also a great solo by Buckethead. However, after a while, Bernie comes in with his organ and seemingly jams for about 8 minutes with voice samples and effects thorwn in here and there. Then there comes a slight break but then he comes back in. This song basically feels like Bernie jamming for almost 12 minutes on the organ, with some voice samples and effects thrown in. This is probably the worst song on the album- it would have better if they'd maybe kept his organ playing to 2-3 minutes as the outro, kept the first part of the song and made one more song to end the album. This song just goes on for way too long after the first part.
This album is absolutely superb. It is extremely creative and everyone seems to be having a great time. The genre shifts work and make the album more unique and memorable. The only low point is the last song, but that's not really a big deal. I highly recommend that anyone check out this album. Go into it with an open mind and expecting experimentation and something different- and who knows, you might just have a new favourite.