Innerviews: Music Without Borders Book Review
By Barry Cleveland
Anil Prasad established Innerviews.org in 1994, and quickly gained a reputation among readers and artists for incisive and substantive journalism. Ten of the 24 interviewees here are guitarists—Martin Carthy, Michael Hedges, John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner, Leo Kottke, David Torn, David Sylvian, Jon Anderson, Chris Whitley, and Ani DiFranco—with others ranging from Björk to Joe Zawinul to Bill Bruford to Chuck D. Rather than going for the obvious questions like so many of his contemporaries, Prasad probes deeply into what makes each artist tick, extracting detailed and nuanced information about the trajectory of their work, their creative process, how they view themselves within the larger aesthetic world, and how they feel about what they do. This comprehensive approach yields fascinating insights that even the artists themselves sometimes find surprising. My personal favorite is “Endless Infinity,” in which producer, composer, and bassist Bill Laswell discusses his visionary world-fusion projects (including Material’s 1994’s landmark Hallucination Engine), coaxing the best performances from artists, his relationship with Miles Davis, and his iconoclastic approach to recording and mixing. Cover to cover, this book is essential reading for thinking fans.