Bass Communion / Muslimgauze

Bass Communion Vs. Muslimgauze

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Even though the amount of material he recorded would strain most musicians' lifetime abilities, a listen to this fine release again compounds the regret that Bryn Jones hadn't lived to do more. The matching of two inspired, self-contained musicians like Jones and Steven Wilson turned out to be a dream collaboration, with both bringing their similiarly wide scope but different aesthetic senses to the drawing board. It would be easy (and accurate) enough to simply say that Wilson brought the textures and Jones the beat -- the printed credit list says as much. Given the duo's constant reworking of the material until both were satisfied, though, it's more likely the truth is an equal contribution on all levels. Consider the opening track -- initially it sounds like it would just be something Bass Communion might do with a buried rhythm punch, but then Jones fully lets loose a stuttering, at points distorted, hip-hop loop while Wilson carefully arranges his guitar samples and atmospherics around it. There's even a hint of wah-wah! In contrast, "Three," the lengthiest cut, begins as pure Muslimgauze aggro-Arabic beat from Jones before Wilson adds in a cyclical, processed feedback chime, with the song then evolving from there into an astonishing, chaotic variety of different approaches and tempos between the two. The sense of how well the two could work together comes through even stronger on the more abstract cuts. "Two," with its heavily flanged and twisted rhythm loops and hits, makes for incredibly adventurous listening on its own, while the slow build of Wilson's heavenly but chilling backing increasingly sets the tone. Meanwhile, the hissing, wheezing rhythm of "Five" makes for an excellent conclusion to the album, its alien, factory-like tone going through both Jones' trademark heavy electronic punishment and Wilson's calmer, weirdly beautiful approach.

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