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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Matt Sargent & Zach Rowden - Tide (for Ten Basses) [Marginal Frequency - 2019]

Tide (for Ten Basses) severs up two extremely dense 'n' bone simmering examples of drone matter. Each of the tracks slides in around the twenty-minute mark, and each is based around the sustained power of ten basses- with the first track focusing in on a gloomy haze, and the second brighter-yet-still dense and pressing drone matter.

The two-track album appeared in August this year on the Washington based label Marginal Frequency- coming as either a CD or digital down. The CD comes in a moody looking colour gatefold, which on its outside takes in a close up of two bass neck heads. And on the inside one of the players head down stocking his basses strings.

Both tracks are based around an eleven note cord, which spans the full register of the basses, with the player building up their ten bass parts while listening to the other parts via headphones all to creating a feeling of continual ripple, hover or drone. Matt Sargent composed the tracks, and Zach Rowden played the layers of bass.

Each of the two tracks were recorded at a different & locations- the first track is from March 2017 and was captured at Bard electronics college studio in Annadale-on-sea. This first track is the most gloomy malevolent of the two- with Rowden creating this seemingly constantly uncurling haze  of deep ‘n’ dark sound. From time-to-time, you can identify single lines of drone drifting making there way in or out of the mass of thick sound- but really the whole thing is a dense dirge of sound, or miasma made sonic which both engulfs & surrounds one in deep bone simmering tonality.

The second track was the first take on the piece recorded in June 2015 at a grain elevator in buffalo City New York. From the outset, the tone & pitch of the drone feels so much lighter, brighter, almost golden in its reverberations- and towards its end, the track takes of feeling hovering regalness.  The location seems to also give the work a ringing sort of urgency too- though once again the track is extremely dense, with Rowden adding on layer upon layer of bass tone. Oddly the addition & subtraction of the layers is less clear & pronounced this time around, and at times we get whistling almost feedback edges here, also I can make out what I presume is distant bird sound twitter in the background from time-to-time.

Though I presuming the same selection of notes and  similar sonic set-up is indentical on both of these tracks- they do feel very yin & yang- with the first track been thick blackness, and the second piecing & ringing white-out. All making for an interesting progression between the two tracks.

There’s no doubt you’ll have to enjoy very dense & fairly fixed examples of the drone genre to enjoy & get the most from Tide( For Ten Bases). But I thoroughly enjoyed the album finding both takes on the work enchantingly different. Head to the labels bandcamp to hear more here, and pick up a copy- though don’t wait too long as this only had a pressing of 150 copies.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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