Thursday, November 24, 2011

Loving... "Babysteps" by the Rhys Anslow Project

When my friends on Twitter tell me they have released an album I will check it out. I am in an enviable place where I have lots of musician friends and am regularly given early notice of new material.

Rhys Anslow aka @rhysbass is someone in whom I've struck up an unlikely friendship based around our mutual love of music... a friendship I am grateful for.

I was delighted when he gave me a copy of his latest album: "babysteps" earlier this week. He plays bass and is a looper... and this album is just him, his bass and his ingenuity... along with a few fiddly effects.

To put this in context... think of your favourite record that has some form of bass solo - maybe some slap & pop funk or some super-melodic solo - that you love and look forward to when listening to the song. That's what you can expect. That will help to shape your understanding of this recording. That said... try not to think of the incidental music in Seinfeld... that's what this isn't.

Rhys builds layers using just his bass and various effects. The closest I've come to this is Matt Stevens' brand of guitar playing. The layers are deep and immersive... forming a strong foundation for the melody and/or rhythm sections.

"Behind closed doors" is a wonderful example of this... with a leading melody expertly executed with such grace and poise... in a way that made me think of the "Regarding Henry" soundtrack. It's this bass-as-lead that I really love... so warm, sensual and atmospheric.

Whilst I am more in favour of these gracious melodies and less inclined to the jarring dissonance of slap & pop... I do love what Rhys has created on this recording. Through multiple listens I am impressed with the sounds Rhys can and does get from his bass.

There is nothing quite like a melodious bass solo and Rhys' ability to get this just right is a tremendous achievement. As such I would heartily recommend this album. Not just because he's my friend but because he's nailed it, musically speaking.

I have embedded the player from Bandcamp... please take time to listen to the album and do what you can to support an independent musician.


1 comment:

Bob said...

I listened to this once through and let left me feeling like I didn't really like it, but I listened to it again and realized that it was just a couple of tracks that didn't work for me, and the rest is quite good.

I think "Acid Dance" is one where there are a couple of points where the foreground and background feel out of synch, but I fully believe that could be my own listening ability :-)


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