Bass Communion

Bass Communion 2

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Nothing really changes in the Bass Communion world for the second release under the same self-titled moniker, but the end results are still well worth it. The focus is again on stripped-down textures and careful, intriguing arrangements, though often spiked with a dark, rougher edge that suggests tension and deep undercurrents as much as meditative relaxation. In actuality almost 11 minutes long, "16 Second Swarm" demonstrates this balance effectively, with its soft central two-note melody surrounded and partially buried by fuzzy crackle, then slowly developed over the course of the track in a majestic sweep of electronic orchestration. Continuing the title series if not always the exact sound from the first album, "Drugged III" starts with a combination of synth background and plucked strings that calls to mind David Bowie and Brian Eno's "Moss Garden" from the former's album Heroes. The addition of shimmering electric guitar and low church-style organ lends the song even more intriguing beauty. There's one guest appearance as well, with the return of Theo Travis on flute and saxophone for "Wide Open Killing Field," on which he contributes minimal and mysterious notes and calls over a wash of seashore wave samples and whistling wind. As for the other songs, "Grammatic Oil" relies on a steady, snaky bass pulse and low, looming sonic murmurs to set a more than slightly disturbing atmosphere, while "Dwarf Artillery" blends teletype-reminiscent percussion with recurring bleeps and chimes. Copies also come with an extra EP that includes "A Grapefruit in the World of Park," a full collaboration with first album guest Robert Fripp, and "Snakebird," a remix of original material by the Square Root of Sub, which is not too dissimilar from Bass Communion straight up. The cover illustration, a curious abstract photograph by graphic designer Carl Glover, is worth noting as well.

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