Neti Neti Audio Letter Remix
Sharon Gannon, with the help of Bill Laswell, Mike D (Beastie Boys), John Robbins, Cheb I Sabbah, Russell Simmons, Reverend Run (RunDMC), Sean Dinsmore, and Roderick Romero remix Audio Letter's first album.
This album is a remix album of the original Audio Letter album, It is This It is Not This recorded in 1983. When it was first released, Billboard Magazine wrote, "Exotic Rhythms, otherworldly soundscapes, and flawless musicianship make for an album that manages to challenge, yet irresistibly pulls the listener into its orbit." -Tom Demolan, Billboard
It is This. It Is Not This - Bearing its Sanskrit translation, neti neti, as a subtitle. Out of a politically minded artistic collective, Gannon and guitarist Sue Ann Harkey, with a fluid lineup of fellow musicians, formed Audio Letter. Harkey says, "The idea was to crate songs spontaneously." And the group used world, rock, and experimental music as starting points. After arriving in New York in 1982 for a few gigs, the duo soon made the city its new home, becoming a popular live draw in the vibrant downtown scene. It attracted the interest of percussionist Denis Charles and the legendary Don Cherry, who shared an interest in spirituality and Indian philosophy, admiring their improvisational skills. "It was a perfect union." Harkey says of the collaborations. The tracks were self-released as It is this, It is Not This, earning favor in the underground music world.
Through the partnership dissolved shortly thereafter, in 2001 Harkey suggested to Gannon that they remaster the original release for a CD issue. Gannon, now co-director of the Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York, was encouraged to remix it and approached some well-known artists to lend their talents. The resulting album includes assistance form Beastie Boy Mike D on the pulsating "Is This a Bridge Exactly" - to which he added samples of lectures by animal-rights activist John Robbins - and avant-garde icon/fellow Meta artist Bill Laswell, who reconstructs the evocative "Liberation From Samsara."
Contributions from DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Sean Dinsmore, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and Roderick Rhodes succeed in creating mesmerizing soundscapes that are also seamless. Defying easy cateogorization, it is a record certain to captivate more adventurous listeners. "(Gannon) took the concept," Harkey says, "and produced a beautiful CD."
Tracks on Neti Neti:
- Cheb I Sabbah's remix: Neti Neti a jazz-inflected meditation featuring Sharon Gannon on violin and Don Cherry on trumpet.
- Russell Simmons' remix: Sound Is God, Sharon Gannon "scats" Sanskrit in a duet with Legendary hip hop Rapper, Reverend Run(RunDMC).
- Sean Dinsmore's remix: is pure Break beat.
- Mike D's remix Is this a Bridge Exactly adds a dose of environmental activism from John Robbins to hip hop
- Bill Laswell's remix is ambient lounge at its best
- Roderick Romero's remix Smoke and Mirrors is rock-tinged psychedelia.
- Fading Green is untouched from the original album and showcases me performing an improvised poem.