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Bass Communion - Ghosts on Magnetic Tape CD (album) cover

GHOSTS ON MAGNETIC TAPE

Bass Communion

 

Progressive Electronic

3.63 | 44 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is another exploration in minimalism from the prolific musician Steven Wilson. In producing the album "Damnation" for Opeth, and writing one of the songs for that album called "Death Whispered a Lullabye", Wilson said that a song doesn't have to be loud to be evil. Well, recording as Bass Communion, and particularly on this release, SW has definitely proved that to the extreme. This is very eerie and spooky sounding music, but very ambient and minimalistic. There is no rhythm here, it is all free flowing sound.

There is nothing electronic here, it is all organic sounds, some of them processed however. Other reviewers here have stated that these are sounds from recordings of the dead conversing with the living. This is not really true. It is, however, inspired by the work of Konstantin Raudive who tried to communicate with the dead and capture the sound on magnetic tape. Notice the key word here is "inspired". The sounds here are actually processed sounds from old 78 records, processed piano sounds, crackling sounds from old vinyl (which is pretty common on BC albums), and other atmospheric sounds from drones created from various sources. As romantic or intriguing as the idea of recordings of ghosts is, it is not really true. However, the sound is still eerie and definitely does sound as if it is recordings from beyond.

The album is definitely quiet and begs to be listened to in a quiet environment in order to hear all of the musical brushstrokes that are used to paint the bleak sonic pictures that are being created here. That's what these are, as are all of BC's works, aural paintings. To me, these tracks go by quickly when I am listening to them closely. That's what I find amazing because most of BC's compositions tend to last over 10 minutes. The last track on this album is over 18 minutes.

As eerie as this is, I find it strangely soothing. It's very nice listening for when you want to de- stress yourself. The best listening method is to sit back in a dark room with a pair of headphones, make sure they are good ones because even though this is minimalism, there are sound frequencies here that can destroy a bad set of speakers.

As much as I do love the work of BC, one does have to be in the right mood for it, and it usually only works well on specific occasions. It is not general purpose music, it is more for exploration or "mental medication" if you will. I would consider a few of BC's albums as essential studies of minimalism, but this one isn't one of them. It is, however, still an excellent addition to any ambient lovers library, because it doesn't really get much more ambient than this. 4 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |

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