“Turtle Song” (Hugo Largo)

Two-bass attacks are uncommon, what with the risks of a muddy low end or bottom line. Plying the upper (chordal) registers, a combination of four- and eight string basses wend along, sometimes meeting for unison voicings. Our pitiable narrator is the murky base. Sequestered in a “well” (or shell), her head pops up and out every now and again, but only in projection. Professing whiteness (“Indians . . . [are] so smart”) and desiring animality (“that excites me”), it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that she’s merely sheltered and listening to the “echo” of the small world around her. But don’t forget the power of a “wish”: beginning to imagine “someone else’s thoughts” and inviting strangers into one’s life. Sonically and politically committed to mingling without overdetermination and difference with spite for location. An excitation.


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“The Awakening (Pt. 1)” (The Reddings)

In some ways, The Reddings continue The Brothers Johnson’s investment in funk as inborn, released/expended, and premised on dance floor experiences. Not so with this trax, as we move toward an advent of sorts. Who/what arrives? From the album cover, it’s the revelation of lonesomeness conveyed by the single used pillow and the broken office clock lying on the bed (as probable frustration with a world devoid of funk). Moving between slapping and fingerstyle tendencies, the bass pyrotechnics are relentless. The difference appears in the accompanying overdubs that appear near the end; consisting of both harmonics and slaps/pops played backwards and layered within the forward momentum of the primary narrative, they emphasize causality in a distorted mirror. Reflected back to us, the other is different yet comparable, related but not an amplification. The layers, the bottom end, the sustained open E string throbbing throughout: arrival has happened and will have to happen, recursive in its movement forward, outward, and downward.

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