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Bass Communion - Chiaroscuro CD (album) cover


Bass Communion

Progressive Electronic

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Chiaroscuro (an Italian word signifying the contrast of light and dark) is a live album from Steven Wilson's solo electronic project Bass Communion. This album only contains two tracks.

The title track "Chiaroscuro" is a 37 minute live recording of Bass Communion's first concert performance. Steven was invited by Dirk Serries from "Fear Falls Burning" to be a special guest at his "Frenzy of the Absolute concert in 2008 in Antwerp, Belgium. The title track is a result of this appearance. It was created using the combination of a laptop and a guitar, all performed by Steven Wilson. The track is a beautiful and harsh recording, and the aptly named track definitely explores light and dark, The music is an ebbing and flowing drone with atmospheric effects similar to the fuzz of electricity with manipulated guitar. This is not music in the traditional sense, but is a soundscape. It can get rather loud and harsh at times leaving you tense and alert, but can sweep you away in psychedelic textural waves in others. To fully appreciate this long musical tone painting, it is best to just let the music take you away while you close your eyes and let your mind paint a picture. While the first half of the track has the loudest sections, the 2nd half is calm and minimal with a very minimal drone and percussive noises that leave behind them a glowing tone. Around the 29 minute mark, the somewhat melodic line intensifies a bit and higher metallic textures swirl around. Guitar noises intensify more and start to become harsh again but it soon slowly fades into the distance.

The 2nd track is called "Fusilier". This track was recorded earlier that same year and was included on the 7" split single (Fear Falls Burning and Bass Communion) that was given to all of the attendants at the previously mentioned concert. It is almost 8 minutes of more guitar and laptop generated sounds, but this time other layers and textures were added and parts were edited during post-production. This track builds slowly until the halfway point when it reaches a fuzzy, heavy and deep climactic drone and remains there while it emits dark and eerie sounds until it abruptly ends.

This music isn't for everybody, but those that give it a chance should give it their attention and not just use it for background music. There are many sounds and textures buried within these soundscapes. For those that love this type of electronic music, this is an excellent album to get lost in. If you go into it knowing that the music is more of a soundscape than traditional music, then you shouldn't be disappointed.

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Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | Review Permalink

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