Bass Communion

Pacific Codex

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Most Porcupine Tree fans already know this, but lead guitarist Steven Wilson is also a keen experimental artist, although he keeps that facet of his activities well separated from his progressive rock career. Pacific Codex is Wilson's (and his side project Bass Communion's) most avant-garde album to date, one geared at connoisseurs of drone music and electro-acoustic music much more than Porcupine Tree's audience. This album features Wilson and Theo Travis using metal sculptures by Steve Hubback to produce sounds. This source material was later extensively processed and assembled by Wilson into two 20-minute pieces. A percussion album this is not, nor is it industrial-sounding, as some readers might be expecting from the above details. Wilson's treatments have retained some of the percussive quality of the metal (gong-like attacks, the deep rumble of sheet metal being flexed), but most of the aural landscape here evokes the sea: soft rolls on metal translating into waves crashing on the shore; wide, boundless spaces hiding bottomless depths of sound. Pacific Codex contains no melodies, no beats. It can be summarized as an abstract construction of metal-based soundscapes that have been "liquefied" through digital processing. The approach is not particularly new and the result is more of a listening experience than an enjoyment, but Wilson managed to produce an interesting piece out of limited source material. This album comes as a CD/DVD box set, and the 5.1 surround sound DVD-A mix is strongly recommended, for the low-end rumbles and the immersive quality of the compositions. Carl Glover's 36-page booklet of sea photographs reinforces the sonic imagery of the music. The whole package is very elegant and makes this a nice collector's item. Only quibble: no pictures of Hubback's metal sculptures!

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
20:27
2
19:39

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
20:27
2
19:39
blue highlight denotes track pick