Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ullmann/ Dahlgren/Thomas - BASSX3 - Transatlantic [Leo]

Gebhard Ullmann - bass clarinet and bass flute
Chris Dahlgren - double bass and objects
Clayton Thomas - double bass and objects

Leo Records 2012

It used to be usually the pride of any musician (vocalist) to get the highest note possible on the instrument, clear and crisp. The idea of assembling together three low-register instruments might not be revolting today but nevertheless it's not something you meet too often. Which is but one of the reasons BASSX3 project should attract your attention.

BASSX3 is about unusual sound possibilities, and the album's titles gets it right - low bowed notes are not unlike the wailing of the transatlantic's siren, but in their creative adventure they manage to expand the sonic capabilities of own instruments with up to the area of high ear-piercing sounds of metallic overtones, bowed plates and plucked strings.
Gebhard Ullmann, Chris Dahlgren and Clayton Thomas create together music that esquisitely original and uniqe in its sonorus vision and captivating in its surreal qualities. Rumbling vibratos, ritual and primal drones, noir suspens of deep tones, waling low-cries as if distorted through some space-time continuum filter, slowed down, maximalized, detailed, deceiptevely minimalistic on the outside, reach and colourfull below the surface. As "Transatlantic" part three which finishes the cd with the drone vibrations and clarinet growls, like boiling water in the pot with the top on, with all the heated vapour trying to escape) . This is music of incredible tension, of gripping, unwordly atmosphere, of almost infinite depth and reach. Majestic, pensieve, meditative and cerebral (as the title aptly suggest like "The Epic" or the three parts of "Transatlantic"; the qualities are reinforced when the gentler sound of the flute substitues for the darker tones of bass clarinet). Restrained, focused yet adventurous, with  "Ornette's Closet" being the only change of pace as the musicians prove they can make the notes jump and run in the free bop vein.
An unique concept that gave unique results. Deeply intriguing and gratifying. Music for those who'd like to dive down deep into the depths of the ocean. Surreal voyage. Brilliant.

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