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Bjorn Meyer: Provenance

Geno Thackara By

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From the fact that his best-known role consisted of a decade in Nik Bärtsch's Ronin (not to ignore his other style-bending collaborations either), it's already clear that Bjorn Meyer isn't interested in what a bass or bassist is normally supposed to do. In keeping with that attitude, his solo debut puts his low-end string work to different uses on practically each track. Playing with sound is the real game, and the instrument is a sonically rich means toward that end.

As part of a new pre-performance ritual, Meyer decided to start recording every piece of rehearsal, practice and improv while preparing. This led to cherry-picking some snippets to offer as website freebies, which became the seeds of most of the pieces here—and once in the richly resonant sound of the recording space, the material had more room to grow, breathe and possibly change again. Provenance is a collection of sonic musings never quite planned, but allowed to naturally evolve into the sounds and shapes in which they always belonged.

Simple rolling lines and lightly fleeting melodies coexist alongside ambient dreaminess. The choppy percussive strumming of "Squizzle" has appealing shades of the late Michael Hedges, while the sedate "Dance" and title track build ear-pleasing layers of echo. Working mostly on six-string electric with some pure acoustic bass thrown in, Meyer manages to make his tools sound not quite like a bass or a guitar, yet similar and distinct from both. Eloquent and evocative, Provenance may be simple at heart but opens a world of beautiful sonics to savor.

Track Listing: Aldebaran; Provenance; Three Thirteen; Squizzle; Trails Crossing; Traces Of A Song; Pendulum; Banyan Waltz; Pulse; Dance; Garden Of Silence; Merry-Go-Round.

Personnel: Björn Meyer: 6-string electric bass, acoustic bass guitar; electronics.

Title: Provenance | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ECM Records


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