Zurich is the first of many live releases from the super group Praxis, (Keeping in mind that this is a reissue of Transmutation Live, originally released in 1997). Here we have Bill Laswell, Buckethead, and Brain functioning as the foundation of the performances with a vast array of DJ’s doing their thing on top of it. The six DJ’s featured are Grandmixer DXT, DJ Disk, Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Shortkut, and Oz Fritz.
For those who didn’t get to hear the scarce first edition of this performance, you will quickly find Zurich much more appealing than the previous live disc Warszawa. Although the performance is still very jam-based, a number of the familiar tunes from Transmutation make an appearance under different titles. Fans will recognize the Praxis/Buckethead favorites like Crash Victim, Jowls, Giant Robot, and Animal Behavior embedded in the intense jams. The mixture of improv as well as familiar tunes make Zurich a more likable listen than Warszawa.
Although a lot of great material is present, I felt that perhaps a little too much time was dedicated simply to DJ scratching. In fact there are probably 4-5 average length tracks dedicated completely to scratching with no other instruments included. If you like that kind of thing you will love this CD, if not there will probably be a few tracks you won’t revisit after the initial listen. Also as this is a genuine live recording with no overdubs, so there are some mistakes, and a lot of feedback sometimes. However when considering how great the recording is as a whole, these are small flaws that can be easily overlooked.
All in all a fantastic listen from Praxis and Company that shows what a great jam/ avantegarde band should sound like. I highly recommend Zurich.