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Bass Communion - Cenotaph CD (album) cover


Bass Communion


Progressive Electronic

3.32 | 28 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Emptiness that moves at a steady pace to nowhere in particular.

Bass Communion, being a Steven Wilson project, is always on my list of projects to listen to when a new album is released. So far the music hasn't lived up to my expectations but the attempt at creating dreamy soundscapes is usually respectable, which is the case of Cenotaph. Described as a sequel to the mysterious and relatively enjoyable Ghosts On Magnetic Tape, I can't really see how this is much of a sequel at all besides being entirely ambient and fairly dark.

When "Citadel (q)" finally gets going after 5 minutes of abyssal groaning and old timey vinyl record crackle-pop, a very deep and mid-paced dubstep inspired bass beat is introduced. Because of the dark atmosphere and the deep dubstep quality present on this album, it sounds like Wilson has been inspired by Andy Stott. The only problem I have with this is the clear lack of sufficient progression or points of interest. "Citadel (q)" and the last track, "Conflux (n)", utilize the exact same beat and drones that slowly alter in pitch, which wouldn't be too big a problem except that together they create 37 minutes of the exact same stagnant, bland experience.

The middle portion of the album mixes things up a slightly - about as slightly as compositionally possible. The beat present on 3/4ths of this album is still pounding away on "Carrion (u)" but with an added higher pitched beat on top of it, and the dark ambient drone background is a bit more active with various electronic groans and resonances. "Cenotaph (r)" completely removes the aforementioned beat and is instead completely ambient, starting off with a rainy drone atmosphere and progressing to a darkly celestial ethereality.

Steven Wilson is a very respectable musician and is an understandable figurehead in modern progressive rock, but this latest attempt at crafting beat laden ambient comes off as boring, even to a fan of ambient music in general. I can see the level of work that went into this album - made obvious by the extremely deep and pleasant atmosphere that the production of this album so proudly displays - but the entire album sounds like what Andy Stott would record if he were to completely give up on making his music interesting at all. That being said, I am very positive that Cenotaph is great music for lulling oneself to sleep or simply let drone in the background for peripheral solace while performing lengthy, tedious chores, but it's not suitable for musical entertainment.

colorofmoney91 | 2/5 |


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