Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bass Bits - Guest(s) Post - the Final Roundup

The penultimate post, rounding up the straggler suggestions and nominations

But first, bloggage: 

Our God Is Speed's adieu to the topic - part 2 of his regional bass music survey plus interlude plus coda

CardrossManiac2 on the might of Deb Googe

... and what will be left of them?'s Bobby on "stoopid bass"

faces on posters too many choices posts on "crank" bass, Miles bass, and the rubbery eroto-bass of Imagination

Action Time Vision with a bunch of stuff


CJ points to  Hiperasia by Él Guincho as an example of a contemporary album that "has some nice sounding low end.... A lazy comparison to make would be if Panda Bear had grown up on the Canary Islands, he'd be El Guincho"

Further to my "who in 21st Century rock does anything interesting with bass?" query, Andrew Parker notes that Muse are lauded for their basslines. 

This (played by Chris Wolstenholme presumably) is apparently regarded as "the greatest bassline of all time" - at least by the readers of Musicradar

Doesn't strike me as anything much to write home about - just sort of burrows along busily like a overcaffeinated mole... 

Andrew also observes that Duff McKagan of Guns 'n' Roses was a bloody good bassist

Which I would agree with purely on the bass of the Pell Mell Rubberband-Boingy Bit in "Welcome To the Jungle" - takes off at 3.27 

But Andrew also points to:

And he digs up a bit of Duff chat from somewhere, revealing his influences and style (something known as "chorus" - what is that then, musicians out there? Ah, seems it's an effects pedal that creates a shimmery sound, on guitars as much as on basses)

"And so I took learning to play bass. and we all took it really seriously. Steven and I would play together. We just lived for it. And Steven and I would play to Cameo, for Steven to get that groove. And that influenced the back groove on 'Appetite for Destruction.' That's all from playing to Cameo, Sly & the Family Stone."

(This reminds me of Chuck Eddy's prophesy in Stairway to Hell about the inevitability of Disco-Metal as a future hybrid -  indeed I believe he wrote  that it would Come to Pass because it already had to an extent - possibly this very aspect of GnR was one of the proofs he had to brandish )

The chorus style, apparently came from Duff listening to "Paul Simonon from The Clash, Sly & the Family Stone, Cameo, Prince, this band called Magazine - that was Howard Devoto from the Buzzcocks- and the bass had this huge chorus. I didn't know what a chorus was, but he had this sound on his bass. So if you hear chorus on my bass, like 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' 'Rocket
Queen,' that's all from Magazine, this post-punk band."

Barry Adamson, take a bow then... 

Jake Smith expresses his "surprise to see no love for Geddy Lee – bass virtuoso and multi-tasker par excellence. Off the top of my head 'YYZ' springs to mind as fab bass work but on pretty much every Rush song the bass is doing interesting stuff – going above and beyond as well as doing what the bass should do"

Jake also bigs up the "warped but huge" things" Luke Vibert did with bass under his Plug moniker"

Groovy, agreed... But the Vibert stuff that has stayed with me much more is the Wagon Christ - Tally-Ho and above all Throbbing Pouch. 

The space bass on this one....  indeed the entire track ....  really ought to be a hallowed foundational totem for the Low End Theory / Fly Lo scene....

More Andrew Parker - bringing up The Doors, who ironically for a band with no actual bassist (as a permanent line-up member anyway), had lots of good bass bits...

He points to "You're Lost Little Girl" and reckons it's Doug Lubahn who's responsible

I personally would go for this mighty slam-grind groove

Also dig the disco-ahead-of-schedule and boogie-funk sections (which starts about 3 minutes in and goes to the end) of this song-suite:

Andrew also pays tribute to the mighty Kim Deal

"manages to be both brooding and energetic":

"like an absent-minded dawdle that's better than most of your conscious drawings":

"constantly snaking away from from the chord progression"

"what would be unsteady in any other context is a bedrock for the careening guitars and vocals"

Now I have been waiting, and waiting, for someone to come through with Astral Weeks and the (double) bassist on the record Richard Davis

Finally Rebecca Rosengarde steps forward to point out the heinous absence. Thank YOU Rebecca!

Rebecca notes that Davis is regarded as having been the "the session leader" during the making of Astral Weeks. "His bass parts are the heart of each song or at least on equal footing with Van Morrison's vocals".

Legend has it that Morrison recorded his vocals and acoustic guitar separately and then the musical setting was laid down by the players without his involvement. That is a legend in fact, although the singer was notoriously incommunicative. Davis himself  in fact has mordantly observed that there was "no prep, no meeting. He was remote from us, 'cause he came in and went into a booth... And that's where he stayed, isolated in a booth. I don't think he ever introduced himself to us, nor we to him.'

Also perplexing me has been the lack of admiration for Mani - Gary Mounfield of the Stone Roses. Alice Thompson comes through at the last minute with a nod to "Fool's Gold": "Seriously groovy, who at that point would have expected that the Roses could ever have come up with something so convincingly funky?"

Personally, Mani-wise  - indeed and in all ways - I prefer the more robustly rock "I Wanna Be Adored" - which is rock like a mountain is rock.  Whatever you wanna say about "the Sixties" and the Roses are revivalists, that is a track unlike any other in rock history before it. Sounds totally of its time.  

Feel like there's reggae in there too somehow 

Roots rock reggae is also deep in the marrow of this World Domination Entreprises beauty - nominated by Anna Metcalf, who loves its "deep probing raspy pummel"

Think I once described Digger the drummer and bassist Steve Jameson as the white postpunk Sly 'n' Robbie or words to that effect.

Jane Lyons brings another great example of what she calls "low-down, truffle-snuffling bass" - courtesy Rockette Morton, of course

Jane also reps for something much more modern - and in its own way - equally unorthodox. "The bass on this Beyonce hit is mad!"

But who knows who precisely among the squad of people producing, engineering and writing that song actually sculpted those strange lunges and detonations of bass?

Travelling back in time to a completely other era of black music.... RAMP's glorious "Daylight". Bass, by  Nate White, that starts quite simple and snugly in the pocket, but gets more restlessly intricate and creative as the song progresses. 

Nominated by Melanie Brewer, who notes the way "everything in that track seems to glow".

 So good let's listen to it again, without the vocal distracting us.

Kevin Quinn pops by again with an unusual Byrds suggestion, saying "written by Crosby, Hillman's bass thrums as the guitar articulates Heinlein's tale of the 'other' Maybe! Ha. I can also hear Johnny Marr's guitar picking here".  

Andrew Parker (that man again!!) with an extensive big up for Jason Chancellor of Tool

"That riff – so simple, so addictive" - 

"An ominously incessant bassline begins this track (and the third album), but by 1:30 it has morphed into a beautifully molten tone that reveals the breadth of his palette and the mastery of his instrument"

 "for those who want to luxuriate in beautiful bass tone and tasteful harmonics"

"similar in mood to Disposition but darker, trippier and more expansive" - 

Late offerings from Fernando Ramírez:

Jenny Lindbergh from Warpaint

Another vote for Geddy Lee

Kris Novolesic

and some love for Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo - the playing in the intro (as Fernardo notes a misleadingly promising intro - although the whole song is actually fairly fab apart from the flabby chorus. The bridge section from 2.02 is scrumptious)

And finally a nomination I can second and co-sign to the end of Time - from the missus herself, Joy Press.  The Hartnoll Brothers aka Orbital - with a strong contender for greatest UK techno anthem of all time.