Rothko - Refuge For Abandoned Souls [Trace Recordings - 2019]Refuge For Abandoned Souls is an album that pushes the bass guitar in some surprisingly moody, highly atmospheric, and at times emotional harmonic directions. The ten-track CD album is surprisingly varied and creative for what’s largely a one instrument based release- so don’t let the idea of a ‘bass’ guitar-centered release put you off.
Rothko started life in 1997 based around bass player Mark Beazley- over the years the band went from been a three-piece with a keyboardist & a percussionist, but seemingly more recently has become the solo venture of Mr. Beazely. The project released its first album in 1999- going onto put out nearing 50 releases- taking in thirteen full-lengths, splits & EP’s, etc.Roger Batty
This new release is put out by Trace Recordings- which is Beazely own label- the CD is presented a mini colour gatefold- that takes in rather empty & foreboding pictures of woodland. This CD comes in an edition of 125 copies- so I’d suggesting acting sooner, than later if you want to hook your self a copy.
The album rolls in at the forty nine-minute mark- with each of the ten tracks running between the four & six-minute mark. And to give an example of the variation/scope here we go from the emotional harmonic & stark indie vibe of the opener “Place Your Soul Next To Mine”- which finds Marks felt bass parts been simmered by subtle guitar touches. Onto the glitch bound fuzz- to- languishing bass wonders of “The Last bells will sound Forever”. Through to the pulsing & brooding-yet shimmering vibe of “Your Heart Used To Beat, Now It Beats Stronger” which feels like a meeting between the soundtrack to John Carpenter's The Thing and sparse-yet-fuzzed out noise rock. Onto the twanging American fuelled harmonic barren-ness of “The Last Breath Becomes The First Breath” which feels like a more reverbed & sparse take on recent Earth material.
I must say I was very much taken by Refuge For Abandoned Souls- as it not only highlights Beazely’s skill & creativity with the bass, it also shows he knows how to write both atmospheric, memorable & creative music that often cleverly slips between genre labels. To pick up a copy, and found out more about Rothko's head over to the bands Bandcamp here.