Praxis is a band whose core is bassist/producer Bill Laswell and guitarist Buckethead– an exploratory project that looks in many directions. “Zurich” captures the band live in Zurich from 1996, with a bonus track from the Knitting Factory in 2000 tacked on the end. The band for this outing consists of Laswell, Buckethead, Brain, Grandmaster DXT, DJ Disk, Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Shortkut and live engineer Oz Fritz. Make no mistake, this is an album lodged firmly in turntablism– with an army of scratches, cuts and samples taking center stage over funky grooves and occasional shredding guitar.
Having stated that, the album is interesting– certainly I’m someone who actually appreciateds turntablism and the performances throughout are top-notch– it’s broken up into a handful of suites– each of which has feature sections for Laswell, Buckethead and the turntables. Having stated that, it’s also clear however that this barely begins to scratch at the surface of the energy and excitement this must have generated in person, and in the end, it’s like looking at photos from someone else’s vacation, you can appreciate them and they have their value, but it’s not the same as being there.
Still, I don’t regret having picked up “Zurich”, it’s a fine record, it just seems to be lacking something that would have been there in person.