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Bass Communion - Bass Communion (III) CD (album) cover


Bass Communion

Progressive Electronic

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Bass Communion III is the third album from the project by Steven Wilson. Released in 2001, it contains left over tracks recorded between 1995 to 1999 that did not fit on the first 2 albums. Most of the material was actually recorded before the first album was released, however. There are also 3 short tracks that were previously released on the album "Atmospherics" which is a collection of short tracks that were released to media companies for use with commercials and other things. That particular album collected music from this period that was edited and renamed to be used as media background music and etc. However, BC III is the 3rd proper album in the regular series.

The album starts off with "Amphead" which is over 13 minutes and recorded in 1997. It starts out as a subdued, airy drone, which builds slowly in volume. You can hear the tones all mixed in the drone as it builds and secondary noises swirl around. It's like hearing music coming from far, far away as the wind is blowing.

The next 3 tracks are the short tracks mentioned earlier, and they are collectively called "Three Pieces for Television". "Sonar" is the first of these and it was originally released on the "Atmospheric" album under the same name. It comprises a subdued thump, a somewhat unsettling scraping noise and chords from a keyboard that fade in and out quickly. Next is "Lina Romay" which was called "Night Creatures" on the "Atmospheric" album. It has a low drone, echoing noises, and a few chords that come and go. The last of this 3 part section is "Grammatic Fog", known as simply "The Fog" on the "Atmospheric" record. It has shades of "Grammatic Oil" from the BC II album. You get that eerie keyboard motif along with a drone and other sustained and tense chords. Each of these three tracks run between 2 and 3 minutes.

The next title is "Slut 2.1" recorded in 1995 making it the oldest track on the album. It is very unsettling and dark, with some very odd noises and textures. There is a repeating motif that sounds like flutes or recorders layered over each other, just slightly off. The biggest surprise here is a rhythmic trip-hop pattern that starts low and builds in intensity, giving the track a driving beat. While this goes on, drones and noises change tones and textures. This is probably the most accessible track on the album, and possible in all of the Bass Communion discography. Voices are heard in the background, but are processed so they can't be understood. This is a very fascinating track just under 10 minutes, and it helps to create some variety to the overall picture.

"43553E99.01" recorded in 1999, runs over 14 minutes and utilizes a mid-eastern sounding stringed instrument, possibly a Zither with a lot of echo where the individual notes are sustained so long that they mesh together and fade, sounding like it is coming from an empty concert hall, and along with this is a processed piano that accompanies at times and at others fills in the quiet moments. This one is very atmospheric, spatial and beautiful.

"Sickness" was recorded in 1996. In the background you can hear minimal static noises like a record playing while dissonant tones warble. Then a repeating "thump, thump, hum" starts providing percussion. Other warbling tones come in, providing a faux-melody. You get a jazz vibe from this one if you listen closely to the vibes and the tones that get down-warped. At 6:15, a high pitched non-melody starts to play on top of it all. It all stays subdued throughout, but I find it all highly inventive with it's subtle changes throughout it's 11 minute run time.

The last track, recorded in 1998, is "Reformat Spiders" and features Theo Travis providing textures with flute and saxophone. It has a run time of almost 8 minutes. It starts with what sounds like strange processed calliope music swirling around that provides the foundation, and Travis immediately provides his part with layered flutes and etc. over the top of this. The sustained notes get quite dissonant at times giving this a unique texture.

This one is the lowest rated of the first 3 Bass Communion albums, but I find it one of the most intriguing and most variable albums of those three. I still consider it one of the best of the project and, like the preceding album, it is an essential experimental and progressive electronic album. There are plenty of beautiful textures and sounds that can take you to places in your mind when you let them.

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Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2018 | Review Permalink

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