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BASS COMMUNION

Progressive Electronic • United Kingdom


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Bass Communion biography
Active since 1994

A lot of people know who STEVEN WILSON is, as a musician and personality, also knowing - always, actually - what's his pivotal band: PORCUPINE TREE, with its complexity of psychedelic, pop, metal and hard rock being remarkable at different times, over different periods. Steven Wilson has a number of side projects, that shine up his familiar face in the elite of rock contemporary musicians and his natural gift or interest in many projects and collaborations (approached, perhaps, from his multi-instrumental skills, though he doesn't vary the music much from one band to another, except when the concept is totally different and needs a really abstract approach): BLACKFIELD, NO-MAN or IEM ("Incredible Expanding Mindfuck") leading the way, with mainstream, different or interesting rock music. His strong ideas of hypnoses, trances, sequences and soundscapes, melded in a process and a healthy band called BASS COMMUNION, doesn't differ much from the above-mentioned main interest in building a great side project (out of scraps, most likely); it almost shows however a Steven Wilson like never before - not a rock musician, not a mainstream-hardstream magician, not a concept riddler, but an electronic phaser and a pretty distinguished electronic technician, leaning on music that makes the rest of the art.

Everything noted down until now should actually be of no surprise to a Steven Wilson fan, BASS COMMUNION's length of music and artistic endeavour being familiar and taken in account by many of those who plug heavily into PT, NO-MAN or IEM. The different tone comes not in how Wilson's independent work fine-tunes with the heavy stuff of his mega-bands, but in how his independent work has an independent vibration as well, without referencing back to the music of other projects. Nothing from the psychedelic long shot "Sky Moves Sideways", the trippy-abstract-electronic "Voyage 34" or the dark-rock instrumental jam "Metanoia" (all PT albums) indicates one bit what kind of electronic dreams is Steven Wilson creating through BASS COMMUNION. Maybe only IEM shares some psychedelic, "krautr0ck" ideas in a similar way, but the music up there is called "self-indulgent" by way too many voices.

More about how BASS COMMUNION shapes up can be read in reviews or important interviews Wilson gave. The interest for noise, electronic or krautrock experiments started through a serie of "cassette duets"...
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Bass Communion, Vol. 2Bass Communion, Vol. 2
Adasam 2003
$14.92 (used)
CenotaphCenotaph
Ais 2011
$18.49
$17.49 (used)
Ghosts On Magnetic TapeGhosts On Magnetic Tape
Tonefloat 2009
$39.07
$45.97 (used)
Bass Communion 2 & 3Bass Communion 2 & 3
Tonefloat 2013
$62.72 (used)
Loss (CD w/DVD)Loss (CD w/DVD)
Soleilmoon 2011
$39.99 (used)
Bass CommunionBass Communion
Imports 2014
$188.49
$192.47 (used)
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BASS COMMUNION discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BASS COMMUNION top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 41 ratings
Bass Communion
1998
3.80 | 43 ratings
Bass Communion (II)
1999
2.77 | 7 ratings
Bass Communion V Muslimgauze
1999
3.94 | 30 ratings
Bass Communion (III)
2001
3.76 | 12 ratings
Jonathan Coleclough/Bass Communion/Colin Potter
2003
3.62 | 51 ratings
Ghosts On Magnetic Tape
2004
3.39 | 12 ratings
Indicates Void
2005
3.02 | 23 ratings
Continuum
2005
3.25 | 15 ratings
Loss
2006
2.73 | 17 ratings
Continuum 2
2007
3.06 | 16 ratings
Pacific Codex
2008
3.48 | 35 ratings
Molotov And Haze
2008
3.32 | 28 ratings
Cenotaph
2011

BASS COMMUNION Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 8 ratings
Bass Communion/Pig - Live In Mexico City
2008
3.88 | 14 ratings
Chiaroscuro
2009
4.73 | 3 ratings
Bass Communion / Freiband
2015

BASS COMMUNION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BASS COMMUNION Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.57 | 7 ratings
Reconstructions and Recycling
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ghosts on Magnetic Tape - Andrew Liles Reconstruction
2004
2.71 | 5 ratings
BCVSMGCD
2006
2.00 | 2 ratings
Continuum Recyclings Volume One
2006
2.00 | 1 ratings
Continuum Recyclings Volume Two
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Box Set
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Continuum I + II
2014

BASS COMMUNION Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 13 ratings
Atmospherics
1999
2.93 | 5 ratings
Bass Communion v Muslim Gauze
2000
2.23 | 14 ratings
Vajrayana
2004
2.96 | 6 ratings
Dronework
2004
1.00 | 2 ratings
Bass Communion / Fear Falls Burning
2008
2.03 | 10 ratings
Haze Shrapnel (with Freiband)
2008
3.28 | 10 ratings
Litany
2009
2.00 | 5 ratings
Headwind/Tailwind (with Freiband)
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sisters Oregon
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bass Communion / Freiband: The Next Room Parts I and II (feat. Michael Esposito)
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Precision Surgery / Bass Communion: Kurzwellen 8
2018

BASS COMMUNION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Continuum Recyclings Volume Two by BASS COMMUNION album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Continuum Recyclings Volume Two
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars Bass Communion (Steven Wilson) and VidnaObmana (Dirk Serries) released two collaborations which were called "Continuum" Volumes 1 and 2. After the success of their first collaboration, VidnaObmana used that album and an unreleased Bass Communion track and the tracks from the 1st volume as source material to produce what they called Recyclings, new imaginings of the original tracks that stood on their own for another album. "Continuum Volume 2" was released and it contained 3 new tracks with the same collaboration, but this time, the tracks not only had the same drone style atmosphere, but also incorporated more dynamics (especially in the first track) that gave the soundscapes an even darker and heavier tone.

Finally, in 2010, a Recyclings album for volume 2 came out. But this time, the reconstructions of the volume 2 tracks were done by Justin K. Broadrick from "Godflesh". The heaviness of the source material comes through in these recyclings plus the also have an unsettling, almost industrial feel to them this time. Overall, this makes them much more interesting and not as devoid of time as the ones from the first volume. Don't expect any melodies or standard song structures however. The music is still trance-like, and probably even more so with the repetitive patterns that appear throughout. At least, the second volumes of source material and recyclings are quite distinct from each other, the first relying mostly on drones, the second relying on drones and patterns.

One thing that doesn't change much is that this material is only going to be appreciated by fans of the artists or the genre, and even then, you have to be in the right mood. This album has a much more unsettling result, however, and it can either make it easier or harder to listen to. After this, there were no other continuum recordings made, and its doubtful the second set would have been missed. But yet, here they are. If you are curious, then just know that you are getting into some interesting soundscapes that really have very little semblance to traditional music. If you love drone work created from layers of sound, then you will enjoy these, but the tracks are quite long, around the 20 minute mark. As with the others, I would consider this for fans only.

 Continuum Recyclings Volume One by BASS COMMUNION album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Continuum Recyclings Volume One
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars Bass Communion (Steven Wilson) and Vidma Obmana collaborated together to create an album of soundscapes in 2005. There were three long tracks on that album which were drone style soundscapes. These soundscapes are very ambient and sparse, consisting of slow moving drones and very little percussion. The tracks had very little forward movement and one has to be in a particular mood to listen to them.

The third track on that album was called "Construct III". Steven Wilson did an immersive mix of that track which was an hour long, but this mix was never released. Vidma Obmana used that track, with reference to the other Continuum tracks and created what they called "Continuum Recyclings". Both artists felt that these recyclings stood on their own as far as new and distinct soundscapes, so, in reaction to the success of the Continuum release, they decided to release these reconstructions of the Continuum tracks. Thus we have the creation of The Continuum Recyclings, Volume 1 .

This album consists of 4 tracks, each one with a duration of just under 20 minutes each. Again, these tracks are also very ambient and drone like, soundscapes with little forward movement and no rhythm. Just like the original versions, you have to be in the right mood to bliss out to these. The album come in the form of a double vinyl with a track on each side. Some of the copies also had a CD included which had the unreleased hour-long immersive mix recorded by Steven Wilson. There really isn't much to say about the tracks, they are soundscapes mostly made from drones created by layers of sound. The reworkings are complex and detailed, yet most listeners will miss the details and probably won't hear a lot of difference, because they are subtle and can only be heard with a lot of concentration. This is not music for everyone, and probably only of any interest to collectors or completionists. This is ambient drone music to the max. I have a hard time listening to this at any random time, but there are times when I find it enjoyable and relaxing. However, putting my own viewpoints aside which change from one day to the next, I have to admit that these recordings are only for the hardcore enthusiast.

 Chiaroscuro by BASS COMMUNION album cover Live, 2009
3.88 | 14 ratings

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Chiaroscuro
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic 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.

 Box Set by BASS COMMUNION album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Box Set
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars By now, most people know this is Steven Wilson's experimental/ambient/minimal/electronica/avant-garde project. I always find this music somewhat soothing when it isn't too abrasive, beautiful at times and other times too minimal. It is nothing like Porcupine Tree, Blackfield or SW's solo albums. It is not accessible at all. These are soundscapes, however, of the highest caliber, sound paintings.

There have been many albums and EP's released under the moniker of Bass Communion. This collection is simply known as 'Box Set', but it contains 4 CDs, most of it is rare material that has only been available on vinyl, or unreleased material. If you are a Bass Communion fan, then this collection is a must have. I'm going to do this review a little differently however. BC fans will want to know if they have already got this material on other albums, so that is the basis for this review, to let you know the other ways that these tracks are available. If you want information on the actual makeup of the tracks, then check out the reviews (many of them I have already done, or will be doing soon) on each specific album.

Disc One of this collection is called 'Vajrayana/Indicates Void'. The first two tracks (Vajrayana and Aum Shinrikyo) are previously available on a 7' vinyl released in 2004, however they are in edited form. On this collection, they are released for the first time in unedited form. 'Ghosts on Magnetic Tape - Outtake' was previously only available on the 2006 2LP vinyl version of the 'Ghosts on Magnetic Tape' album. 'Indicates Void I-IV' were all previously released on a limited edition (300 copies) vinyl LP in 2005.

Disc Two is named 'Pacific Codex' and is only made up of one 40 minute track. This is taken from source material recorded by Theo Travis and Steven Wilson with the instruments being metallic statues only. This was released in a limited edition (1,000 copies) CD/DVDA box set in 2008.

Disc Three is named 'Reconstructions'. These are all remixes of previously released BC tracks and most of them have been made available on other vinyl releases. The first one is 'After Dark' which is a remix of 'Darkroom' from 2003 previously released on a CD-R as the 'DAC Remixes' in 2004. 'Mousehill' is a remix of 'Use of Ashes' which was released on a 10' vinyl in 2008. 'Behind These Silent Eyes' is originally from Theo Travis' album 'Slow Life' released as a 2 LP vinyl in 2007, however, the version on this collection is an alternate version not available anywhere else. '537171NR848492C' is a reconstruction of 'Andrew Liles' released in 2007 on the CD 'Black Sheep'. 'Wvndrkmmer' is a reconstruction of 'Pyramids' and was originally available on the 'Wvnderkmmer' 5 cassette box set.

Disc Four is called 'Litany/Temporal'. The first two tracks are 'Litany 1 and 2'. They were previously released on the 'Litany' 12 inch vinyl single in 2009. 'The Flight of Song' is a reconstruction of '3 Seconds of Air' released on the 'Flight of Song' vinyl LP in 2009. 'Temporal A and B', the last two tracks, are previously unreleased tracks. These tracks are inspired by Harrison Birtwistle's piece 'Chronometer'. The tracks consist of sounds derived by clocks and other time keeping devices.

This collection definitely has some atmospheric material on it that works well for chilling out, relaxing, meditation or background noise. Unless you are already a BC fan, I would recommend you start with one of the other BC recordings to see if this is something you would be interested in. The music/soundscapes won't make much sense unless you already understand what this type of music is. If you are just starting out with Bass Communion, I would recommend getting Bass Communion I, II, or III before venturing beyond. As far as this collection goes, however, if you are a fan then you can decide for yourself if it is worth it to you or not, but since the original editions are mostly hard to find if you don't already have them, then it is definitely a valuable collection worth the price.

 Vajrayana by BASS COMMUNION album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
2.23 | 14 ratings

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Vajrayana
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars "Vajrayana" is a two track EP from Steven Wilson's Bass Communion project written originally in 2001, but released in 2004. It is quite rare in that only 200 copies were released. Of course, Bass Communion is all Steven Wilson performing and playing everything. Typically, the music is made up of manipulated sounds, loops and/or field recordings and are always experimental and, in most cases, quite minimalistic. Both tracks are a little over 6 minutes.

The first track, "Vajrayana", is quite eerie with electronic tones and a throbbing percussion and some hardly discernible crackles. Sustained tones are soon added to the repeating pattern. At about the 2 minute mark, percussion stops and there are some louder tones, then the repeating pattern starts again without the throbbing percussion at first, then it fades back in. Intensity builds in what sounds like manipulated choir sounds, but they are processed so much it's hard to tell. This ebbs and flows for a while as other tones come and go. Eventually it all fades out.

The 2nd track is "Aum Shinrikyo". A pattern of 2 quick bass notes repeats with a subdued drone. This is replaced by some strange clicks and pops and then it returns again. An electronic melody made of sustained notes slowly plays over the top of this. Though it is very ambient, it has a dark cast to it with a tense atmosphere.

I find that I experience Bass Communion best when I close my eyes and just let myself get immersed into the sound. It can be like getting transported to being able to visualize scenes in my mind always being influenced by the sounds and experiences in my life at the time of listening. Otherwise, just listening to this for the sake of listening doesn't really accomplish much. I find it strangely beautiful, no matter how minimal it is, and it may seem like a waste of time to a lot of listeners, but I tend to get immersed in it.

Regardless, this EP is completely minimal, so don't expect anything except a nice soundscape. It is reminiscent of previous Bass Communion music, so it really offers nothing other than a few more soundscapes. It is hard to find, thus it is probably best suited to collectors or fans of this style of music.

 Bass Communion v Muslim Gauze by BASS COMMUNION album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2000
2.93 | 5 ratings

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Bass Communion v Muslim Gauze
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars This EP is the continuation of the Bass Communion and Muslimgauze collaboration started in their album. This EP takes the last two tracks that were completed by the pair, each at almost 10 minutes.

"Six" is more of a trance-like composition with a repetitive tribal rhythm and the atmospherics from BC's ambient music. As with the album, there are plenty of electronic clicks and pops added into the mix. It definitely has a danceable trance vibe throughout it's entire length.

"Seven" is more ambient and experimental, with the tick, tick, pop, pop pattern. Soon, a drone comes in and takes over the pattern and a backward sounding rhythm starts and stops along with a looped electronic sequence. The drone appears and disappears at different times, but the rhythm pattern remains most of the way through.

Again, as with the album, it is impossible to determine what No-man source material was used as it is processed and manipulated to the nth degree. However, this EP is easier to listen to because it is not in such a large dose as the album. If you can find this EP, it would be smart to begin with it to see if you like this combination of Muslimgauze's noise rock and Bass Communion's ambience and then you can progress to the longer album. As for me, again, it is too repetitive and abrasive with the electronic noises and percussion patterns, but it's easier to take in a smaller dose.

 Bass Communion V Muslimgauze by BASS COMMUNION album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.77 | 7 ratings

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Bass Communion V Muslimgauze
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars While recording the first 3 Bass Communion albums, Steven Wilson got his hands on a copy of one of many of Bryn Jones' (Muslimgauze) albums and was impressed with his ability to explore so many different types of music, that he sent him some of his music recorded with No-man, hoping that he would re-imagine it with his style. Bryn did this and returned it in 4 days with all the songs reworked. Steven then reworked it again and sent it back, after which Bryn did that same thing again. This went on a few times, and eventually, they came up with 7 tracks that they were both happy with. However, with the both of them busy with their own projects, those tracks got pushed to the side. After Jones died in 1999, Wilson polished them up and released 5 of them on this album. Later, the other 2 were also released on an additional EP. Originally, they were going to only make them available on a CD-R at Muslimgauze conerts, but there were so many people interested in them that they made them more widely available.

Over the 15 years of Bryn's musical career, he released over 100 albums on small labels, so the original concept fit in with his recording style. Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with his work other than the double CD 'Blue Mosque', which utilizes a lot of world music styles centering on percussion. I have heard that his music spanned a lot of different and odd styles. 'Blue Mosque' was also the album that Steven Wilson heard that impressed him. For me, it was an okay recording, but nothing really special or ground breaking.

Which brings us to this album. The five tracks are simply named One, Two, and so on. There really is no telling which No-man songs were used since these tracks have been altered so much, that you can't tell what they are. 'One' starts out with a lot of atmospheric sounds swirling around, each one increasing in volume only to be suddenly cut off. There is a lot of percussive sounds going on too. Suddenly, around the 2:30 mark, a fuzzy rhythmic beat takes off driving this track forward. A bass riff starts off and you get a nice, upbeat modern electronic style that is almost accessible compared to most other Bass Communion music. You can hear pretty much all the instruments at one time or another in the swirling music. But one would be hard pressed to figure out what the specific source material is. It does have more of an earlier Porcupine Tree feel to it than any of the other Bass Communion albums.

'Two' starts off with some really cool electronic sounds. The sounds seem literally electronic and among them, you even hear snippets of a vocalist, but they mix in with the other sounds. This one is definitely more experimental. Some processed music glues it all together, but the tones are subdued, as if playing in another room. A pattern gets established eventually, as the effects take on a more percussive role, but not in any traditional sense. The music remains more of a repeating loop of sustained notes that slightly change pitch. This all disappears eventually and we're left with those strange electronic sounds again.

'Three' is the longest track at over 13 minutes. It takes right off with a crazy percussion pattern that starts and stops with no warning. A fuzzy tone and synthesized sounds accompany this beat. This stop/start pattern continues until you get to the 5 minute mark, then you are left with electric pulses that are subdued with sudden bursts of noise that can scare the living daylights out of you. A new, tricky percussive pattern starts at 7 minutes with the pulses continuing. A lot of the subtle differences and layers are all percussive except for some indiscernible voices and electronic sounds. Later in the track, there are what sounds like some middle eastern influences buried in the mix. The percussion gets less evasive as it continues.

'Four' is the shortest track at just under 5 minutes. It starts out quite minimal with what sounds like astronaut voices. Percussion and metallic noises fade in a looping pattern that stops suddenly and starts again. This fades out and you get a drone, some percussion and a backward sounding percussion.

The last track 'Five' has a compelling rhythm right off the bat and a repetitive guitar hook. You get the cool processed music turned into percussion on this also, making some very interesting textures and sounds. The rhythm slowly gets disassembled and reassembled with new textures and sounds added throughout.

Right away, you hear Muslimgauze's influence on this Bass Communion album with all of the experimentation with percussive sounds. This is almost always present with the atmospherics of Bass Communion. It adds an interesting layer to the music, plus it is also relies more on repetition, sometimes with subtle changes and other times with sudden and very apparent changes. It's a nice dynamic, but sometimes it can be too repetitive before there is a sudden change. Also, Muslimgauze's noise rock influence almost completely takes away the ambience and minimalism of BC's sound. Yes it is there, but harder to find among the percussive textures.

All in all, it's an intriguing listen, but not something that I can listen to very often, because mostly of the repetitive percussion. It can also be abrasive at times. I definitely prefer the Bass Communion solo albums over this, but it is still interesting to listen to on occasion. If you like experimental noise rock, then this is something you would definitely want to check out though.

 Bass Communion (III) by BASS COMMUNION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.94 | 30 ratings

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Bass Communion (III)
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic 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.

 Bass Communion (II) by BASS COMMUNION album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.80 | 43 ratings

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Bass Communion (II)
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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.

 Bass Communion by BASS COMMUNION album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.48 | 41 ratings

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Bass Communion
Bass Communion Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars For those that don't already know, Bass Communion is Steven Wilson. Now before you get all excited, for anything under the Bass Communion title, don't expect music similar to Porcupine Tree, No-man, or most anything directly under Steven Wilson's solo albums. You will be disappointed if you expect that you are going to hear that kind of music. What you will hear are experimental tracks, most of them very long and ambient, minimal and dronelike. If you expect that, then you are going to know what you are getting into. So many people see SW's name attached to this project and come away frustrated and disappointed. However, if you know you are instead going to get textural, audio-paintings, then you know what to expect and you will find that BC is some of the best of this type of recording around.

This is not music in the traditional sense as much as it is soundscapes with a lot of experimentation. They are long works, designed to but you into some type of space or environment. They are great for meditation or for just enjoyment. I find them most effective if you close your eyes, and let the music take you wherever your mind wants to wander under the influence of the sounds.

I believe the first three albums in particular, named Bass Communion I, II, and III, are the best entry points to determine if this music is for you. These first albums have more of a musical quality to them, while the later albums, for the most part, are more experimental and ambient. SW wanted to do soundscapes similar to the more ambient and experimental works of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, but he does it with very few synthesizers, relying more on source material that has been processed, manipulated and layered. Some of the tracks are original while others rely heavily on source material and field recordings that have been manipulated.

So now you know what you are getting into here, let's take a look at this album 'Bass Communion I'. We start off with a very short track, just over a minute, called 'Shopping'. It sounds like a needle being dropped on a record, then the crackling noises of the record playing. There are very soft sounds playing in the background that you have to listen closely for, just sustained chords playing.

Next we have 'Drugged' which features saxophone work by Theo Travis. It seems to be an improvised and dissonant performance. Soon, the music is layered on top of each other. Around the 2:30 mark, more sustained tones come in, sounding like an organ, but they could be just slowed down sax layers. These are the only sounds playing for now, no percussion or anything else. This sounds a lot like Paul Winter's more ambient music. It is very peaceful and soothing. This continues until the 9 minute mark when single strummed and sustained guitar chords suddenly start. This all fades after 13 minutes.

'Sleep Etc.' comes next with some layered sounds. There is a texture like a watery sound which could be processed static or something. Chimes with manipulated tones play over the top, with a 'wet' percussive noise continuing along. Lower bent drones fade in and out like a foghorn and slowly become more prominent. At about the 6:30 mark, there are echoing percussive noises that become audible. As the drones become more prominent, there is a feeling of foreboding. After 13 minutes, these sounds all fade. 'Orphan Coal' starts off with a rhythmic, percussive pattern, that sound almost like congas. Textured musical sounds, a beeping noise and echoing, wordless vocal sounds come in and out, along with a strange sudden percussion that appears to imitate the vocal sounds. At 3 minutes, sustained chords fade in and out. Soon after, a 3 note bass pattern also repeats on occasion. The repeating percussion suddenly drops out of the mix at the 7:30 mark, and the other sounds continue until they fade after 10 minutes.

Finally, there is one more track, also named 'Drugged' like the 2nd track. This one goes for over 24 minutes. It is based on a 7 second looped Soundscape recording made by Robert Fripp. The atmospheric feel of this track comes from the processing and manipulation of that recording, where sounds are drawn out and shortened in different ways. It even sounds like an organ playing over the top of the layers, but again I don't know if it's an actual organ or just processed and sustained notes. Like the first 'Drugged' track, this one is blissful and serene. It also gets more musical as higher notes come in and swirl around in the mix. An almost vocal sounding layer is added in also, giving everything a spatial quality. As time passes, the sounds vary slightly and also swell slowly.

Overall, this is not music you listen to in a traditional sense, but it is music that will bring on a peaceful feeling. It is mostly ambient, so go into it knowing that. The slowly changing sounds cause the music to flow forward and will send your mind into bliss if you allow it to. Again, if you are curious about this music, then these first 3 albums are the ones to get for first-timers to see if it appeals to you. Lovers of the more experimental Tangerine Dream music or Labradford's music will also love this. This is top quality ambient and experimental music, both of the 'Drugged' tracks being worth the price of admission, with the other tracks included to supply variance. But, as I said at the beginning, don't come into this with any expectations of past SW music, and maybe you will find it touches you also. In addition to this, try to not notice time passing and things will be more effective.

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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