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Saturday, February 25, 2012

BassX3 - Transatlantic (Leo, 2012) ****

 By Stef

On this exquisite and genre-defying album, we find three likeminded artists from three continents exploring aesthetic and authentic beauty. Gebhard Ullmann plays bass clarinet and bass flute, and both Chris Dahlgren and Clayton Thomas play double bass and objects.

As the band's name suggests, they explore in the low ranges, though not exclusively.The title track, split in three parts, is by itself worth the purchase of the CD, evolving around the long drone-like sounds of the bowed basses and circular breathing, the listener is sucked into a mysterious universe, with a few heart-piercing tender high phrases by Ullmann to emphasise the built-up tension.

The second longest piece, "The Epic" contains a full album in itself, creating a dramatic story ranging from adventurous avant-garde with dark conflicts between the instruments, to sweet world music references, a story of contrast and musical development as its title suggests. "Ornette's Closet" suddenly has the basses in pizzi and the bass clarinet fully voiced, a short and fun piece, yet it acts a little bit as a coherence-breaker in the album, unfortunately.

The album ends with the long last part of the title piece, as dark and compelling as it gets, with Ullmann's mesmerizing and eery high-toned clarinet again in perfect contrast and unity with the basses.

Great stuff, and addictive. 

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Richard said...

Hi Stef,

Is this prerelease? It doesn't seem to be on iTunes, emusic or instantjazz.

This sounds like something I would love. Really into bass, and Gebhard Ullman is a terrific musician.

Anonymous said...

available direct from Leo Records