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Material — One Down (1982)

 Material — One Down (1982)

United States               Material — One Down
Location: New York
Album release: 1982
Record Label: Celluloid
Recorded: O.A.O Studio, Brooklyn, New York and RPM Sound Studio, New York City
Duration:     46:23
01. Take a Chance     (4:33)
02. I'm the One     (5:29)
03. Time Out     (4:58)
04. Let Me Have It All     (5:26)
05. Come Down     (4:45)
06. Holding On     (4:47)
07. Memories     (4:04)
08. Don't Lose Control     (4:23)
09. Bustin' Out     (8:03)

≥  Michael Beinhorn — Prophet–5, Oberheim OBXa, DSX sequencer, Roland TR–808 drum machine, Roland vocoder, tapes, percussion
≥  Bill Laswell — Man Sting Ray bass, Fender Precision bass, effects
Additional personnel:
≥  Nona Hendryx — vocals ("Take a Chance", "Let Me Have It All", "Bustin' Out")
≥  B.J. Nelson — vocals ("Take a Chance", "Let Me Have It All", "Holding On")
≥  R. Bernard Fowler — vocals ("I'm the One", "Come Down")
≥  Thi–Linh Le — voice ("Time Out")
≥  Noris Night — voice ("Let Me Have It All")
≥  Whitney Houston — vocals ("Memories")
≥  Jean Karakos — voice ("Don't Lose Control")
≥  Nile Rodgers — guitar ("I'm the One", "Come Down")
≥  Fred Frith — guitar ("Time Out")
≥  Nicky Skopelitis — guitar ("Holding On", "Don't Lose Control")
≥  Ronnie Drayton — guitar ("Let Me Have It All", "Holding On", "Bustin' Out")
≥  J.T. Lewis — drums ("Take a Chance", "Time Out", "Holding On")
≥  Yogi Horton — drums ("Let Me Have It All", "Memories")
≥  Tony Thompson — drums ("I'm the One", "Come Down", "Don't Lose Control")
≥  Fred Maher — drums ("Bustin' Out")
≥  Daniel Ponce — bongos ("I'm the One", "Don't Lose Control")
≥  Nicky Marrero — percussion ("Take a Chance", "Time Out", "Holding On")
≥  Oliver Lake — tenor and alto saxophone ("Come Down")
≥  Archie Shepp — tenor saxophone ("Memories")
≥  Raymond Jones — Yamaha CP–70 B electronic grand piano ("Memories")
≥  Howie Weinberg  Mastering
≥  Thi–Linh Le  Composer, Design, Photography, Vocals, Voices
≥  Mike Krowiak  Assistant Engineer
≥  Martin Bisi  Engineer
≥  Robin Danar  Assistant Engineer
≥  Michael Beinhorn  Composer, Synthesizer
≥  Brian Eno  Composer
≥  Robert Musso  Engineer
≥  Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart  Composer

   © Photo credit: Thi–Lihn Le 
≥  Recorded by indie producer/engineer Martin Bisi in Brooklyn and musician/engineer Robert Musso in Manhattan. The album sees the band reduced to a duo of Michael Beinhorn and Bill Laswell, collaborating with different musicians and singers on each track.
≥  "Let Me Have It All" is a cover from Sly and the Family Stone's 1973 album Fresh.
"Memories" is a cover of a song written by Hugh Hopper, recorded by Soft Machine in 1967, prior to his joining the band. Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt recorded a solo version and another version on Daevid Allen's Banana Moon album. Recently (2008) it has been covered by The Mars Volta. The vocal here is performed by Whitney Houston in one of her first ever featured lead performances.
≥  A dance mix by John Luongo of "I'm the One"/"Don't Lose Control" was released as a 12" single in 1982 (Celluloid/Elektra, 0–67970). Mixes of "Time Out" was released as a 12" single in 1983 (Elektra, 0-67916).
Track listing:
1. "Take a Chance" (Bill Laswell, Michael Beinhorn) – 4:33
2. "I'm the One" (Laswell, Beinhorn, R. Bernard Fowler) – 5:29
3. "Time Out" (Laswell, Thi–Linh Le, Beinhorn) – 4:58
4. "Let Me Have It All" (Sly Stewart) – 5:26
5. "Come Down" (Laswell, Beinhorn, Fowler) – 4:45
6. "Holding On" (Laswell, Beinhorn, Brian Eno) – 4:47
7. "Memories" (Hugh Hopper) – 3:58
8. "Don't Lose Control" (Laswell, Beinhorn) – 4:18
CD bonus track:
9. "Bustin' Out" (Laswell, Beinhorn, Fred Maher) – 8:03
Release history:
1982 — Celluloid / Vogue (Fr.), CEL 541003 (LP)
1982 — Elektra (USA), 60206 (LP)
1982 — Celluloid, CELCD 5504 (CD)
1983 — CBS / Sony (Jp.), 25 AP 2754 (LP)
1992 — Metronome / Restless, 7 72654–2 (CD)
1992 — Demon / MauMau, MauCD 624 (CD)
1992 — Jimco, Jp., JICK 89047 (CD)
1997 — Movie Play Gold, MPG 74047 (CD)
2005 — Golden Stars, GSS 5406 (CD, Portugal, retitled CD 1)
Review by Rick Anderson  (Editor rating: ****)
≥  One Down marked a distinct shift in sound for Material, the avant–garde downtown pickup group organized around bassist Bill Laswell and keyboardist Michael Beinhorn. The edgy experimentalism that characterized earlier efforts like Temporary Music and Memory Serves is downplayed here in favor of funk and disco tunes delivered with a minimum of weirdness. Sure, it sounds dated but that doesn't make it less attractive. Laswell is a master of funk bass, and with guests like drummer Yogi Horton, guitarist Nile Rodgers and singers Nona Hendryx and Whitney Houston (just before she became a superstar on her own), he didn't really have much chance to go wrong. Highlights include"Take a Chance" and the strutting "I'm the One"; if you want something a little more challenging, check out Archie Shepp's squalling sax solo on the Houston vehicle "Memories." This is straight-ahead turn–of–the–80s funk at its old–fashioned best from the folks you'd have least suspected of harboring such sympathies.
Billboard Albums:
≥  1983  Jazz Albums      #37
Billboard Singles:
≥  1982 I'm The One  Dance Music/Club Play Singles     #43
≥  1981 Busting Out  Dance Music/Club Play Singles     #2
By Richard Marcus  |  Saturday, August 26, 2006 
≥  Picking up a recording you've never heard of, let alone one by a group you've never heard of, can be an iffy proposition. On occasion you will strike it rich and find an unexpected treasure, but just as often you'll end up striking out so badly you wonder what could have caused the momentary madness that inspired you to select that particular recording.
≥  Sometimes it's the enticement of the inclusion of performers who you know and respect, if not by first hand experience, then at least by reputation. When a few of them are combined into one project, sometimes the temptation is too hard to resist. When the words “underground,” “experimental,” and “innovative” are added to the mix, well I defy anyone not to take that leap in the dark and reach for the completely unknown.
≥  The inclusion of these same performers, and promises of being something different, can also cause the disappointment to be that much greater when things don't pan out the way you had hoped. The higher the expectation, the greater the let down (a saying so old, it’s cliché, but clichés are at their most annoying when they are accurate).
≥  All the above can be applied to my reaction to the disc One Down by the New York City band, Material. Maybe because it was originally recorded in 1983, its announced experimental hybrid of funk, jazz, punk and hip hop sounded more tired then innovative to my ears. Even the inclusion of the power of Nona Hendrix on vocals and the eccentricity of Fred Frith on guitar can't lift this album out of anything beyond ordinary, commercial-sounding music that wouldn't sound out of place on top–40 radio today.
≥  But, I hear you ask, aren't you judging this by ears attuned to sounds that are twenty years further along, and they could have been innovative for their time. That's fair enough, except for the fact that 1983 was a time when I was still paying a lot of attention to contemporary music. The same components that they supposedly experimented with were an envelope being pushed a lot further and with more interesting results by a lot of people.
≥  In 1980, the Talking Heads expanded their four–piece outfit, played stripped down punk and pop into a nine–piece band, and blew the doors off auditoriums the world over with funk/world beats propelling David Byrne's lyrics. The Gang of Four added new base player, Sara Lee, fresh from her sojourn in the League of Gentlemen with Robert Fripp. She smoothed out their hard–edged punk sound into the best punk funk recorded. "I Love A Man In A Uniform," in spite of its provocative lyrics, quickly became a dance floor favourite with both punks and others.
≥  Laurie Anderson scored a bizarre hit with her song "Oh Superman," but her real work became evident on collections like United States and other albums. She combined elements of performance art, jazz, hip–hop, funk, and story telling in ways that have still not been equaled. One of her collaborators at the time was Peter Gabriel, who had stripped down the inflated progressive rock of Genesis into his own unique blending of world music, funk, and rock and roll as he progressed his solo career.
≥  The British punk band The Clash always had a distinct reggae undercurrent to some of their music, as well as their harder edged sound. With the release of their triple disc set, Sandanista, they utilized everything from Motown to surf music in exploring different ways of achieving their ends.
≥  Compared to any of these projects, One Down by Material is decidedly safe and commercially acceptable. Their supposed jazz elements seem to be the occasional saxophone solo, sounding like it's been stuck on as an afterthought, some extra fuzz on a guitar solo, and a voice run through a vocoder: things that might have been interesting if used properly, but here are just wasted on music that's mainstream and bland.
≥  I should have known better when I saw they were excited about being home to Whitney Houston's first ever recording and the inclusion of Niles Rodgers of Chic fame. Avant garde means to be in the forefront, leading the way into new territory. Material's album One Down is in the back of the pack, where risks are few and experimentation is rare. Fortaken: http://blogcritics.org/

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