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Bass Communion - Cenotaph CD (album) cover

CENOTAPH

Bass Communion

 

Progressive Electronic

3.32 | 28 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "A painter paints pictures on canvass, but musicians paint their pictures on silence." - Leopold Stokowski

When you look at paintings, your sense of vision is used. Steven Wilson performing as Bass Communion paints with sound. Your sense of hearing is used. These are soundscapes. The music is ambient, very minimal. It is not music for entertainment in the way that we are used to using music for entertainment, that is why it is so hard for people to understand this music.

Paintings are enjoyed by looking at them, there is no time, no rhythm, no sound. They are a still portrait and we as humans can take as long as we want to look at them, but in the world of the actual painting, time means nothing. Music, however, lives more in the constraint of time. We use rhythm to help break up the timing so that we notice even more the movement of time as a song or a composition plays itself out.

These "songs" on this album and most of the Bass Communion recordings can be thought of almost like paintings, at least that's how I consider them. In actuality, it is all art. The songs have rhythm, but it's not the typical rhythm as drums, but more like percussive electronic sounds. Other sounds and textures weave in and out, flow around each other. Each sound could be considered brushstrokes for the painting. There is no picture other than what we visualize in our own mind. The picture we conjure up is what is painted on the silence, however, musicians and artists both, whether they know it or not, not only use silence or canvass, they use our memories. In music, especially this kind of minimalism, we have a lot more freedom to let ourselves be touched in a wider variety of ways than we do for standard art. We have a lot more freedom of interpretation through music. As in painting though, the more abstract the music or the painting, the more freedom we have.

I find this music very inspiring when I really sit down and listen to it, either really concentrating, or even as background music. If I listen to it like I would any other kind of music, I don't find it enjoyable, but if I listen to it by losing myself in it, or as background music, then I find I enjoy it more. However, to paint a picture that the music makes in my mind, I have to concentrate on it. This is so different from what we as humans are used to when listening to music, so it only makes sense that if we really want to enjoy it, we must find a different way to listen to it. There are no melodies, no choruses, no verses, no structure really. It is abstract. It is there for our own interpretation and it is a little harder to understand because it transcends traditional form. So, it takes more effort to understand. This is why I love progressive music so much. And this is really prevalent in this album and this type of music. Bravo Steven Wilson!

By the way, he CD version of this album uses rhythm to mark the passage of time. But the vinyl version does not rely on rhythm so much, the percussive sounds are not there or at least not as prevalent.

I'm not really sure how to rate this or anything by Bass Communion. I think there are other Bass Communion albums that would merit a 5 star rating because of the ingenuity. This one is excellent for this type of music, I guess not really essential, so I will give it 4 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |

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