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Bass Communion

Progressive Electronic

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Bass Communion Bass Communion (II) album cover
3.79 | 50 ratings | 5 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Advert (0:56)
2. 16 Second Swarm (10:58)
3. Grammatic Oil (10:11)
4. Drugged 3 (17:00)
5. Dwarf Artillery (7:14)
6. Wide Open Killingfeld (13:01)

Bonus 1999 EP :
1. A Grapefruit in the World of Park (12:10) *
2. Snakebird (10:59)
(* Also as bonus on 2002 reissue)

Bonus tracks on 2007 reissue:
7. Wide Open Killingfeld II (5:52)
8. Wide Open Killingfeld III (13:04)

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Wilson / performer, composer

- Theo Travis / saxes, flutes
- Robert Fripp / sampled soundscape (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Carl Glover

2xCD Hidden Art - hi-art 4 (1999, UK) Bonus EP with 2 extra tracks
CD Headphone Dust ‎- headphone dust 003 (2002, UK) With a bonus track

2xLP Tonefloat ‎- TF 42 (2007, Netherlands) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BASS COMMUNION Bass Communion (II) Music

BASS COMMUNION Bass Communion (II) ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

BASS COMMUNION Bass Communion (II) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The second album from Bass Communion continues where the debut left. Long drawn out synth sounds that make atmospheric soundscapes. There is nothing else on this album but synth and samples, so donīt expect rock drums.

Bass Communion is another one of Steven Wilsonīs ( Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, No-Man etc...etc) projects. Bass Communion is a one man project which means Steven Wilson plays everything. Well play might be too big a word to use, because I suspect that itīs a computer thatīs playing most of the music you hear here on (II). There are a few human touches though. The music is slow and the songs are generally very long. IMO the musical ideas overstays their welcome by several minutes every time. Some songs are more enjoyable than others but these songs would have been better on a soundtrack to a movie than as a musical experience by themselves.

This is probably something post rock fans could appreciate as the music does sometimes remind me of bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor just without any of the rock parts that at least makes some post rock bands bearable to listen to. This is way too ambient and trivial for me. Had there been a rock element in the music I might have viewed this differently. Songs like 16 Second Swarm and Drugged III does have their moments. The latter reminds me a bit about the most ambient Nosound songs again without the rock element and the first has a great atmosphere. Grammatic Oil and Dwarf Artillery are slow pulsing songs. There are no vocals on the album which would have made this much more interesting IMO.

The cover is really beautiful and signals the calm within the music.

Iīm struggling to give this a 2 star rating as this music speaks against everything I believe is good music, but I must admit this is at least a bit more enjoyable than the debut from Bass Communion which I found was a complete waste of time. I still donīt like this music much and I wonīt recommend it to anyone really ( well maybe a few post rock fans will like it, Who knows ?), but as I said there are a few enjoyable moments on the album and I will give it 2 small stars. I just donīt have the patience for this kind of music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Steven Wilson's second release under the BASS COMMUNION name continues with his experimenting with sound. As I mentioned in my review of his debut he takes a sound that he finds meaningful in some way and developes it from there. So lots of repetitive spacey soundscapes here in the Klaus Schulze / TANGERINE DREAM style.This particular recording is a double album that comes in at around 82 minutes. I have the original pressing from 1999 on the Hidden Art label.

"Advert" opens with beep, beep, beep crash (haha). Well sort of like that as a deep and powerful atmosphere follows in this very short opener. "16 Second Swarm" has these crackling sounds as mellotron-like waves pulse in and out. It's louder 4 1/2 minutes in and it's almost overwelming at 6 minutes. It settles with waves of sound late. "Grammatic Oil" has a beat as other sounds come and go.This sounds really cool. "Drugged 3" opens with a Chinese sounding stringed instrument as the spacey atmosphere rolls in. Guitar comes in at 5 minutes and echoes. Beautiful stuff. It's very spacey late.

"Dwarf Artillery" has these dark sounding beats and underwater echoes. Organ comes floating in before 2 1/2 minutes. It picks up 5 1/2 minutes in. "Wide Open Killing Field" has some interesting sounds that come and go.They start to drone and wash in and out slowly. It becomes spacey late. "A Grapefruit In The World Of Park" is mostly spacey sounds that fade in and out throughout. "Snakebird" is one of my favourites. It's just really cool to listen to the different sounds here. Guitar 5 minutes in echoes. Spacey winds later and more interesting sounds to check out.

I like this better than the debut but both are excellent and worth checking out if your into Electronic-Prog.

Review by admireArt
4 stars Bass Communion one of Steven Wilson's electronic music projects, which is more focused on sonic atmospheres, as such, therefore closer to the (unexistent) Prog/Electronic/Ambient tagging.

No PT, or SW, electric guitar solos or vocals, (that explains the crowd). Anyway, BC's, second, two cd, album, holds the best part of this kind of experimental electronics intentions. Imagine the atmospheres that his other bands visit in the form of "passages", , enhanced, extended and totally bared-naked.

Calm intensity, without detours. To get there he uses all his compositional talents, some parts of his darker past knowledge, his electric guitar simplified with a wah-wah pedal, and moving along very creative, wind, synth and piano atmospheres.

In addition on some tracks ("16 Second Swarm", "Drugged III" and "A Grapefruit in the World of Park"), the unmistakable presence of Robert Fripps "soundscapes". But basically, this second project is Steven Wilson (all instruments) accompanied only by Theo Travis flute and sax, as such.

A real treat , if you like the electronic-genre. The kind of work which by rule (in my book, of course) will be a part of my permanent collection, therefore the kind of record, I will recommend as a ****4.5 PA stars "mysterious, environmental electronic music" album. Enjoy!.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Bass Communion II continues in the same vein as the first album, with more ambience, layered and textured sounds, more guest sax from Theo Travis and more soundscapes from Robert Fripp. There were a few renditions, or variations, of this album, the first edition had a 2nd disc containing the re-rendered soundscapes of Fripp on 'A Grapefruit in the World of Park' and a remix of the entire album, or at least parts and pieces of it, on 'Snakebird'. The next edition got rid of the 2nd disc and added 'Grapefruit'' to the first disc. Then, in 2007, it was released on vinyl with 2 additional parts added to the Wilson/Theo Travis track 'Wide Open Killingfield' which took up the forth side of the vinyl. Unfortunately, I don't have the copy with 'Wide Open Killingfield, Parts 2 and 3', but the review will include 'Snakebird'

Just like the first album, this one starts out with a short track called 'Advert' which lasts just under one minute. It starts out with some beeps then a crashing sound that echoes for a while with harsh percussive sounds. This turns into a drone and gets replaced with a sustained musical tone and more beeps. It fades into the next track from there.

'16 Second Swarm' actually lasts longer than 16 seconds, it is over 10 minutes. It has an airy background that sounds similar to a record that is running endlessly in a run-out groove while over the top of this is a repeating motif of musical textures that sound like a mellotron slightly processed. With each repeat, variations are added and sometimes layered. Then a steady tone is introduced over this. Then a very nice fuller almost orchestral sound is added around the 6 minute mark. This is an exceptionally beautiful track as it builds into a nice spacey sound that reminds one of the expanses and loneliness of the universe. There are even shades of early Pink Floyd ambient psychedelic during the last half of the track. This is just amazingly lovely.

'Grammatic Oil' is another 10 minute wonder. Where percussion was completely absent from the previous track, this starts off with a muted percussive beat that repeats, almost like a tribal rhythm. A drone establishes itself and a mysterious repeating keyboard motif plays on top of it. Another drone is layered on top and then disappears and the motif returns. Another layer appears, a soft thump that provides a 'faux-bass'. There is a windy noise in the background the builds as the track continues, and you realize it is a layered tone as it gets more intense. Deep underneath it all, there are some odd metallic noises.

On the first BC album, there were 2 different tracks with the same name. That name reappears on this album, but at least now it is designated 'Drugged III'. At just under 17 minutes, it is the longest track on the album. It starts out with what sounds like plucked piano strings with the sustain pedal held down, giving the track an oriental feel. Atmospheric tones and sounds swirl around the plucked strings, and they become that sustained organ sound that was prevalent in the previous 'Drugged' tracks. At the 5 minute mark, strummed, echoing electric guitar chords come in and Theo Travis begins to add his sax giving a slow sustained melody of sorts, though it is improvised just like the plucked strings. Somewhere around 7:30 mark, the plucked piano strings go away while the other textures and sounds continue. At 11 minutes, the strummed guitar fades out leaving just the echoing sax and some high pitched sounds swirling around. At 13 minutes, a warm texture from processed sounds, probably an organ, comes in and builds a base again.

'Dwarf Artillery' is relatively shorter at just over 7 minutes. It starts out with a muted thump of percussion and bass with clicks and submarine beeps over it all. It slowly establishes a rhythmic pattern. A drone fades in and out as do some swirling sustained notes. Around 3 minutes, we are just left with the original sounds still keeping a muted rhythm, then an organ drone slides in with some distant metallic sounds repeating a short riff of their own. All of this stays ambient however, and gives you a nice peaceful feeling, but there is still a feeling of impending danger in the background.

'Wide Open Killingfield' is the only track not fully credited to Steven Wilson as Theo Travis is also given credit. What sounds like waves and metallic pieces being moved by the wind is what provides the basis. Over this are mid-tone level sustained notes moving in and out like the waves with some higher rusty sounds. The layered flutes and sax provide some atmospheric textures. As we move away from the waves, we get the feeling we are slowly crossing a dark and deserted landscape where there is nothing but old hunks of machinery lying about. This is the picture you get through this 13 minute track as the foreboding feeling doesn't change much throughout.

The 2nd disc contains two tracks. The first one is 'A Grapefruit in the World of Park' which is based on a soundscape from Robert Fripp (King Crimson). This is a 12 minute track that uses Fripp's layered and manipulated sounds, and layers and manipulates them even more. Those familiar with 'Frippertronics' and 'Soundscapes' will recognize the unique sounds as they ebb and recede, each time coming back with some slight variations that get layered on top of each other.

This version of the album ends with 'Snakebird', a remix of various portions of the album done by Mark Poysden of 'The Square Root of Sub'. This 11 minute remix utilizes the entire album as source material for the remix. All of the electronic tones, textures and noises are reimagined in this track to create a new track. You will recognize some sounds, but others are even processed and manipulated even more to give new insight and feeling. Quite an interesting track.

The first part of the album is the best, as it is closer to a traditional sound, but still very experimental. The 2nd half is much more experimental and ambient, but a genius recording nonetheless. This would be a good starting point for those curious about the Steven Wilson project, but just remember to not expect typical SW music. It is still a non-traditional musical experience that is best heard with headphones, eyes closed and mind opened. As far as progressive electronica and experimental music goes, I consider it an essential album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The second album of Bass Communion is just a perfect electronic element. A wonderful record by the mind of Steven Wilson, with a few but wonderful melodies as the whole album is only a party of unusual instruments and synths. Fans of Tangerine Dream and bands like this will really enjoy this ... (read more)

Report this review (#247278) | Posted by Macubert | Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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