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Bass Communion - Molotov And Haze CD (album) cover


Bass Communion

Progressive Electronic

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The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars A very hypnotic and pleasing experience. Bass Communion is still becoming more accessible (if you can call their music that) as they go on, and much more interesting.

With Molotov and Haze, we get to heavy static-filled and distorted tracks and two light and almost fluffy relaxing tracks. Humongous shifts in mood.

Molotov is one of the heavy tracks and it is a hypnotizing beauty from start to finish. If you have a headache don't listen, Wilson sounds like he is torturing that guitar.

Glacial is a lighter track and it is spaced out beauty. Whatever Wilson is doing with this track works out well, the noises created are pure bliss.

Corrosive is another heavy track and it's title serves it's purpose. It's like the guitar notes are corroding through pure impenetrable steel. Another wildly hypnotic and static-filled track like Molotov.

Haze is about as beautiful of an ending you can have. Best Bass Communion track I've ever heard. It is even more glacial than Glacial and your mind is at absolute is ease the whole time you listen to it. At times you hear very small indicators of Porcupine Tree such as the overall atmosphere but it's something of it's own. I am in love with the sound, however Steven makes it, of that guitar.

As said at the start, pure hypnotism. 4 stars.

Report this review (#295610)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I honestly was surprised to find Bass Communion in Prog Archives at all, as this is all but progressive rock. But since it's here, I might as well give you my insight.

I have just purchased this album from Burning Shed (an amazing music retailer), along with WILSON's latest solo album, Grace For Drowning. My, is the contrast evident! As I have said in my review of ¨Porcupine Tree's The Incident, Steven Wilson is one of the most prolific and versatile musicians out there.

Bass Communion is the extreme statement of this. Imagine Steven Wilson's musicianship as a spectrum. On one of the far ends lies Porcupine Tree, as his definitive "progressive" outlet (and I write that in brackets because I firmly stand with those who claim the band defies any labeling). In that order, Bass Communion is the other end.

Bass Communion's music, for the most part, lacks a structure akin to that seen in Steven's other projects. He created it as the project for him to use his magical sound engineering skills to create soundscapes and textures that really are incredibly beautiful. It's Wilson magic at its best, albeit radically and dramatically different from anything else he does.

Molotov and Haze, as an album, is sheer beauty. Wilson, in the liner notes, highlights the fact that it was created in less than a month, and the music is played solely by his guitars, using an unlitimited array of effects to create the textures he needed. There are four tracks, two of which (Molotov 1502 and Corrosive 1702) are heavy and dense. The other two (Glacial 1602 and Haze 1402) are much lighter and melodical.

All readers should be warned that this is IN NO WAY even remotely close to PT or IEM, or Blackfield or No-Man, or Insurgentes or anything. This could be a different musician altogether. It can be and is heavy to digest, so if you are not fit for long passages of "monotonous and unchanging" music, it is best that you don't get too familiar with BC, as you may be bound to hate it.

Let me take you track by track.

MOLOTOV 1502 The album starts out heavy and shocking. You are greeted into it by a droney note, with enough distortion to make you think that it cannot possibly be a guitar. As the other reviewer aptly points out, Wilson sounds like he is torturing that guitar. Slowly, and shyly, small specks of melodies burst from underneath, in the form of notes much higher than the drone, which is the obvious reignant motif in the recording. Wilson, standing on it as the base for this very tasty opener, slowly (very) dissolves the distorted guitar drone and gives faint protagonism to the pads and escapes he has built underneath, fading all chaos out and giving you a soft finale to the song, which in turn acts as the transitional period between Molotov and its successor. An incredibly good piece, if you are in the mood for fifteen straight minutes of incredibly loud and distorted drones. It can wear you out after a bit, and it can be a bit overwhelming, but then, this is the denser side of Steven Wilson.

GLACIAL 1602 Steven Wilson is a genius at creating beautiful music, simply because he can create beauty in so many forms and in so many different outlets. Glacial is probably the most orthoxically coherent piece of the album, because it makes use of chords and harmonies that are otherwise forgotten. The song starts out with a very faint echoed voice in some language I cannot yet decipher, and gives a fitting prelude to the mellow guitar chords that follow. These simple intervals are to Glacial what the noisy, metallic, one-note drone was to Molotov. They start out as a shy hint of a melody, but slowly build up into a strong base. This is where Wilson starts.. erm.. improvising if you like, on single bursts of notes that accompany the chords, and creates far deeper pads that give the song the body it needs. And then the chords suddenly make way to the little notes put in, and these become the creators of the atmospheric beauty in Glacial. Like Molotov, Glacial fades out by eliminating what was its base, and leaving the "accompaniments" to finish off the song.

CORROSIVE 1702 There cannot be a more fitting title to this track. The shortest of the album (at 12+ minutes), Corrosive starts out with a drone that is not one but multiple notes with even heavier distorsion. It feels like a slow flow of acid corroding the amplifiers, and there is a high note (that is even more distorted than any of the ones in the drone) that gives you that feeling of angst and slow exhaltation that composes the track. Four minutes into the track, there are even more drones that make it even denser, and completely overwhelming, yet very appealing. There is a constant oscillation between octaves underneath, and this gives the track life, as it creates movement and is the voice of the accompaniment. Again, some three minutes before the end, all the heavy droning disappears and leaves the highnotes in a static, slow death that ultimately finishes the song. Again, it can be very wearing out, and despairing for some (my dad refused to listen any more a mere minute after it had started)

HAZE 1402 A beautiful ending, as only Wilson could deliver. The other soft track, Haze is a much less protagonical piece, as it is composed solely of drones that share the spotlight. Clocking in at 23 minutes, it is a true journey of sound, and slowly builds up its unmistakable and undeniable beauty. The song uses notes that are mostly past the middle octave, making it incredibly melodious and treble-y. There are some slights hints of distorsion well into the track, but they are merely a device put there to highlight the grandiose of the song.

Bass Communion is not for everybody, and as I said, it's even surprising to find it here. It is very dense, and quite exhausting (I get tired myself sometimes), and the heavy tracks are particularly overwhelming, bordering on reckless.

Molotov and Haze is an amazing album, but I will give it three stars because of that and because it really shouldn't be here, despite having been made by one of the finest prog rock musicians of the decade.

Report this review (#556460)
Posted Monday, October 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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