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Damon Smith: Whatever Is Not Stone Is Light

Mark Corroto By

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Damon Smith: Whatever Is Not Stone Is Light
A well-known standing joke instructs a concert goer that the proper time to have a conversation during a performance is to wait for the bass solo. Maybe that joke is funny because it does happen all too often. Try as one might, though, it is impossible to get side-tracked during this solo bass performance by Damon Smith. This COVID-19 virus solo recording follows Smith's previous live solo date Winter Solos for Robert Ryman (Balance Point Acoustics, 2019) and presents an amazing twenty-three tracks in just under an hour.

While the track titles are taken from the translated poems of Mexican poet Octavio Paz, the music bears a likeness to another poet's work, the eccentric Emily Dickinson. Like Dickinson, Smith favors brief slant rhyming and unconventional sounds. Likewise, he eschews punctuation and standard meter. His approach is similar to that of Paul Lytton's percussion or Nate Wooley's trumpet, he is always inventing sounds and inverting traditions. For instance, "Conduits Of Bone" is a percussive work utilizing a bow on strings to create a sound not unlike a mbira. He is a master of the bow, creating an almost singing voice on "Erasing Landscape" and "Heat Rested." The latter piece could easily be a Carl Stalling arrangement for an Elmer Fudd hunting expedition. When Smith works his bass via fingers, he threads a precise needle. "Waiting Water" pulls a deep bottom, as does "The Embers Of The Year." Smith coaxes tears from his instrument with "Broken Mirrors Where The World Sees Itself Shattered." These twenty-three tracks never repeat, nor fail to engage the ear.

Track Listing

Limitless Autumn; The Embers Of The Year; Noon Nests In Your Inner Ear; The Sky Hides All Its Birds; Broken Mirrors Where The World Sees Itself Shattered; Flayed Sun; Night Of Wheat; Conduits Of Bone; Erasing Landscape; The Eye Retreats; Kneading Trough; Uncertain Foliage; Three Clouds & These Few Words; Heat Rested; Waiting Water; From Dream To Watching; Fire & Lichen; Edicts Of Salt; Thirst Wakes & Builds; From Yellow To Red; From Green To Yellow; Word With No Back To It; I Sun-Bone.

Personnel

Damon Smith: bass, acoustic.

Album information

Title: Whatever Is Not Stone Is Light | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Balance Point Acoustics

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