Dub/Ska/Reggae • United States
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The experimental trance music outfit Ekstasis was led by noted underground guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, and featured fellow downtown New York City musician Bill Laswell in addition to Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, Zakir Hussain, and Badal Roy. Their debut album, Wake Up & Dream, appeared in 1998.

Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
Thanks to EZ Money for the addition and snobb for the updates

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EKSTASIS Wake Up and Dream album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Wake Up and Dream
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1998

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EKSTASIS Wake Up and Dream

Album · 1998 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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With a name from ancient Greek terminolgy,"Ekstasis" or ecstasy as we more commonly refer to today in language; is to stand out side of ones self. I don't know if the album "Wake Up and Dream" is that good but it does come close for this style of music with some great muscians creating something that is one of the best and most distinct albums of Dub Fusion. That is precisely what this album combines with "Nicky Skopelitis" on 6,12 string guitars, acoustic guitar, electric sitar and baglama. Nicky goes a long way back to the band "The Golden Palaminos' where not only did he play with "John Zorn" but he came in to contact with "Bill Laswell" who of course is on bass and sounds on this album providing his touch to the production and contributing to some of the songwriting with Nicky. Another bass player extrodanaire is here as well being "Jah Wobble" and of course you will get your moneys worth with "Jah" he even contributes to the writing with Nicky as well. "Jaki Liebezeit: from "Can" is drumming beautifully. Two tabla players on the album and both are top line with the first being "Zakir Hussain" who has done many a collaboration with "John McLaughlin" and "Badal Roy"is the other, ("didn't he play with Miles Davis esp.that album "On the Corner"?). "Bill Laswell" with Nicky produced and arranged the music with a really unique result which at times does get close to "Ambient" but always there is rythmn and beat but the sound is subdued with space and never goes above a mid tempo. One interesting result was the outcome with the tablas, electronics, drums, Nicky doing all his string instruments with also those bass lines from Bill and Jah which just fills the sound.There is always a great beat underneath which just motors along with slow groove. The tablas give that world music effect but this is not from any country I know,except maybe the "Astral Plain".

Seven compositions of slow filled beat driven tracks and "Providence is first with Nicky coming in on guitar, then bass just fills the sound with tablas providing a contrast to the rythmn and they are just played superbly with Nicky's guitar filling in and also providing a layer underneath and above at times. "Elysium" is next with its electronic and tabla commencement but then Nicky is playing a slow skippy groove with Bill's bass filling the sound. Nicky gives a beautiful acoustic and electric guitar solo and that slow groove just keeps coming with Bill's electronic fills and bass. The drumming by "Jaki Liebezeit" is underneath which is similar to the underlayer under the ashphalt on a road which holds it up. Great job by Jaki. " Although Bill was co-composer with Nicky on the first two tracks "Jah Wobble" contributes with this one "Heartland" and for me the actual high point of the album with a thumping slow rythmn from Jah's bass, NIckys guitar just riding it and Jaki is drumming with perfection along the groove. "Midnight Mass", "Nepenthe", "Eureka" and "Shower of Stars" all with that fill and beat with "Eureka being the quickest and Nicky really playing one crunching solo. Nicky also gets into the sitar on "Midnight Mass" which is another feature from the album. Tablas are everywhere with Nicky's guitars and although the album is similar in texture throughout,it maintains a great standard.

Bass and more bass with all other the musicians putting one beautiful sound over those beats that are never over done but still in front. One of Bill Laswell's best efforts with Nicky Skopelitis. Bill has had some great albums and yet I have found the quality sometimes at the other end of the spectrum from him but I often hear from other people that what I consider not so good , they love. Bill is one of those artists who does generate some negative remarks but that precisely is my attraction. You do not know what you will get but one thing for sure most times it is original and kudos to Bill for having a go. This album has had many a play with many more still to come.

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