CK 65961 Sound-System
Produced by Bill Laswell/Material and Herbie Hancock
Released on 1984
Find it at GEMM
CK 65961 cover
[high resolution scan]

T hink this shocking sequel is immaterial? Then maybe you never had the stomach for the future. Not launching another “Rockit” into the airwaves would be like shutting down the space program after the first moonwalk. Sound-System continues the revolutionary reinvention of music introduced on Future Shock: a wild post-modern mix of mechanical beats, electronic sounds, funk, jazz and rock. What Hancock and Laswell had created with Future Shock was a marvelous melting pot of music that connected jazz with the cutting edge of club mixes. Sound-System puts more into the pot, from African pop (“Junku”) to Santana-styled Latin fusion (“Karabali”). A good half of the record is Rockit Redux, including the singles “Hardrock” (which features a rock guitar lead) and “Metal Beat.” But the real ear-openers on here are “Junku” and “Sound System,” which bring the exotic sounds of Foday Musa Suso’s kora into a post-modern landscape of cut-and-paste sounds and club mixes. As if to take a break from the revolution, Hancock returns to the soul/funk of his late ‘70s work with a cover of Timmy Thomas’ obscure single, “People Are Changing,” slyly underscoring how far music (and the world around it) has changed. If Sound-System defies easy categorization (and it certainly did in 1984), Hancock has labored to break down the walls that would contain jazz into a single box. He embraced electronic keyboards and funk/dance before his contemporaries and remains fearless in his pursuit of personal fusion with the world around him. The art of mixing has seldom found such an elevated platform, and students of the style would do well to sit at the foot of Sound-System and Future Shock and learn from an early master (Bill Laswell). In 1999, the disc was digitally remastered and the extended remix of “Metal Beat” appended.


  1. HARDROCK    (Herbie Hancock/Bill Laswell/Derek Showard)    6:10
  2. METAL BEAT    (Herbie Hancock/Bill Laswell)    4:56
  3. KARABALI    (Herbie Hancock/Daniel Ponce)    5:17
  4. JUNKU    (Herbie Hancock/Bill Laswell/Foday Musa Suso/Aiyb Dieng)    5:32
  5. PEOPLE ARE CHANGING    (Timmy Thomas)    6:05
  6. SOUND SYSTEM    (Herbie Hancock/Bill Laswell/Foday Musa Suso)    5:55

    CD reissue bonus track
  7. METAL BEAT (EXTENDED VERSION)    (Herbie Hancock/Bill Laswell)    6:45


HERBIE HANCOCK -- Fairlight CMI, Rhodes Chroma, Apple IIE, Yamaha DX7, EMU 4060 digital keyboard, piano, Memorymoog, clavinet
WILL ALEXANDER -- Fairlight programming
AIYB DIENG -- talking drum, chatan, bells
D.S.T. (DEREK SHOWARD) -- turn, FX
ANTON FIER -- Simmons drums, soundplate, cuica, cymbals, gong, TR-808, woodblock, percussion, Synare tympani
BERNARD FOWLER -- voice, vocal arrangement (5)
BILL LASWELL -- bass, DMX, tapes
FODAY MUSA SUSO -- dusunguni, balophone, kora, kalimba, guitar, talking drum
Hamid Drake -- cymbals (3,6)
Henry Kaiser -- guitar (1,2,7)
Toshinori Kondo -- speaker, trumpet (2,6,7)
Daniel Poncé -- bata, bells, shekere (1,3)
Wayne Shorter -- lyricon (2,3,7)
Nicky Skopelitis -- ELD (1), guitar (6)
Rob Stevens -- XMD, Praxis programming (1,4), engineer
Dave Jerden -- mixing
Billy Youdelman -- engineer
Lawrence A. Duhart -- engineer
David Em -- computer generated image
Howard Fritzson -- art direction (reissue)
Randall Martin -- design (reissue)
Goff Thomas -- liner photography

US 1984 Columbia LP/CD/CS FC/CK/PCT-39478  
UK/NET 1984 CBS LP 26062  
AUSL 1984 CBS LP SBP-238026  
JPN 1984 CBS/Sony CD 32DP-177  
US 1999 Columbia Legacy CDX CK-65961 digital remaster w. bonus track


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