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Music Review: Bass Communion – Pacific Codex

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Ya know, if people don’t know nuttin’ ‘bout a subject, yet insist on talking about it, they really should be shot. Or drawn and quartered. Yeah! Slower and more painful, that’s it! Make them suffer like they make me suffer.

Minimalist music is bliss to those who enjoy and appreciate it. But to the rest of you cretins out there, shuddup and siddown! Minimalist music is, as the name says, minimal. So if you like headbanger, or crap …oh, sorry, I meant rap (heh-heh), then do the world (which unfortunately, includes you, cretin) a favor and stay away. Far, far away.

OK, I’m finished ranting. Promise. It’s just that when I was researching this set, I ran across one or two not-so-nice reviews from people whose comments clearly showed they didn’t care for minimalist or ambient music.

Minimalist music is a mature taste, an acquired taste. Some people never get it. Most never try. But if you’re a fan of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Cage, Laurie Anderson, or a bunch of others who play this exquisite music, you’ll most likely appreciate this.

Ambient music is another in the same vein, and the same comments about people not getting it apply here, too. Try Brian Eno, or a sometime collaborator with Steve Wilson (of prog-rockers Porcupine Tree, as well as a number of side projects, including Bass Communion) Robert Fripp. Fripp may be best known as the founder of King Crimson and other groups such as the League of Crafty Guitarists, on the Discipline Global Mobile label. His solo work, however, is assuredly minimalist and ambient at times.

In this double-disc set you get the Double Whammy: both minimalist and ambient in one. Think of it in the vein of the booklet that comes with the set: picture after picture of ocean waves upon ocean waves. To some, it’s utter boredom. To others, bliss. So do yourself a favor: If you think this glove won’t fit your hand, you’re prolly' right. Stay away.

These discs were performed and recorded in 2006 by Steven Wilson and Theo Travis, using Steve Hubback’s metal sculptures. One disc is enhanced CD, the other a 5.1 surround-sound DVD. They’re both housed in a slipcase with a perfect-bound booklet, and both discs are timed at 40.21. This is the seventh Bass Communion disc.

Minimalist music can utilize periods of silence as well as periods of sound, and there are short periods of silence on this disc. To paraphrase Outer Limits from eons ago, “The problem is not with your receiver.” Some of these periods of silence may be sub-harmonic. But for those of you with top-of-the-line, bottom-of-the-harmonic-scale speakers, you’ll be mesmerized. There’s a zen-like bliss in turning down the lights, disconnecting the phone and cranking this up.

Bass Communion’s recordings are easiest to find on Wilson’s Headphone Dust label website.

I’ve grouped all the references sprinkled throughout the article below, for easier use.

Bass Communion
Porcupine Tree
Steven Wilson/Headphone Dust
Discipline Global Mobile
League Of Crafty Guitarists

Bass Communion At MySpace

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About Lou Novacheck

  • Glen Boyd

    I liked your perspective here Lou. Although I approached this release as more of a fan of Wilson’s work with Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, and most recently No-Man (thanx Pico), I also like a fair amount of ambient music including some of the artists you mentioned.

    I think you may be a bit harsh on the “newbies” to this type of stuff though, because anyone who appreciates Wilson should “get” this as well. It just may take a few of those extra listens with the phone line and the modem disconnected.