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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



And Nothing But The Bass Is 10 Years Old Today.

August 25th, 2010 · 6 Comments

10 years ago today, I received a shipment of CDs from ICC duplication, to the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham – it was my first solo album, And Nothing But The Bass, and the start of my solo recording career.

Here it is – please download it for free:

10 years on, and I’m less than 24 hours into the life of a brand new album, Slow Food, with Trip Wamsley. It’s been such an amazing journey, not least of all because what seemed like such a weird thing to do back then – to me and to everyone else – is now so normal. The internet is awash with people experimenting with solo bass, and looping crops up everywhere from coffee-shops to the top of the charts.

The gimmick potential diminished many years ago, for which I’m most grateful. It let me get on with making the music that mattered to me, via the method that made most sense.

Solo bass was never a circus trick for me.
I was never interested in looping as a way of showing how clever I could be.
It was a way of me getting the music inside my head out to the world.
I hear things in layers, I hear evolving texture not rock drums and last-chorus-key-changes.

The template is still much the same. I’m just much better at it. The vision is more refined, the tech is better (thank the baby Jesus for Bob Amstadt and the Looperlative) and yes, I’m orders of magnitude more developed as a musician – technically, theoretically, conceptually, melodically… I just make better music happen. At least, I make music happen that is ever-closer to the soundtrack to the inside of my head. And I’m still loving it.

I’m loving the collaborations this has all led me to – the albums with Jez Carr, Theo Travis, Lawson Dodds Wood, Mike Outram and now Trip Wamsley. The gigs with Lobelia, Michael Manring, BJ Cole, Cleveland Watkiss, Julie McKee… The myriad incredible musical moments of the Recycle Collective at Darbucka, The Vortex and Greenbelt.

And I’m grateful to every journalist that’s ever taken the time to listen to and write about the music, every radio DJ that’s ever played it, and every person who has played a CD to their friends and said ‘check this out’, or emailed them a link, burned a CDR for them, emailed them some tracks. It’s all great, and I thank you for it.

So, 10 years on, here’s the new album: Have a listen, enjoy, pay whatever you think its worth. For me, the last 10 years have been priceless.

Tags: Music News · Musing on Music

Supersizing “Live So Far” – Three New Tracks Added To Our Live Album.

July 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment

One of the joys of releasing music through Bandcamp (officially the world’s greatest digital music release platform, as voted for by me) is that album releases can be progressive.

We’ve already added ‘Happy‘ to the live album, when it became our de facto single, thanks to the awesome video. [Read more →]

Tags: Gig stuff · Music News

“Happy” – Our New Single!

July 5th, 2010 · Comments Off on “Happy” – Our New Single!

I’ve just added a new track to the ‘Live So Far’ album (because, in the future, you can do things like that) – It’s a version of Happy, recorded at our house concert in Plano, TX.

Here it is: [Read more →]

Tags: Uncategorized

Annotating Tracks With Soundcloud

March 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on Annotating Tracks With Soundcloud

As promised, when the 1st of the Steve Lawson/Mike Outram tracks reached 500 plays, we uploaded another one. It’s a really long one that goes through 3 or 4 very different sections, though that evolve on into the next in a lovely fluid way. In order to explain a little of what’s actually going on (it’s a pretty big noise for just a bassist and a guitarist to make live!) I’ve annotated the track, as you can see below. [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News

New Live Solo Tunes!

February 23rd, 2010 · 6 Comments

Recorded at Friday night’s gig at the Islwyn Guitar Club in Crosskeys, Gwent, South Wales, here are two new tunes that ’emerged’ – they’re both improvs, but I like ’em, so will probably have a bash at something like them for the new album…

The recordings are remarkably good considering they’re just on a little Tascam digital recorder thingie (recorded by Andrew Buckton – fab singer/songwriter who came with me, and sang beautifully on the gig too).

here they are – enjoy!

New Tunes from Islwyn Guitar Club by solobasssteve

Tags: bass ideas · Gig stuff · looping · Music News · site updates

Second Lot Of Video – Solo and Duo – From the Gig with Michael Manring

October 10th, 2009 · Comments Off on Second Lot Of Video – Solo and Duo – From the Gig with Michael Manring

I’m processing the video I’ve got from the gig as fast as I can – two more are now up for your delectation and delight. Firstly, the second of the duet improvisations: [Read more →]

Tags: Gig stuff · Music News

Video From Wednesday's gig with Michael Manring

October 9th, 2009 · 1 Comment

The first bit of video from me, and a lovely little trailer for the gig (and therefor future gigs!) from BenjaminEllis of BassGuitarBlog.com:

Here’s The trailer:

And here’s the first of the duo improvs that Michael and I played, with my introduction to it (about 2 minutes of talking – I’ll probably put the music-only version of this on youtube!) More audio and video coming soon:

Steve Lawson and Michael Manring, live improv in London. from Steve Lawson on Vimeo.

Tags: looping · Music News

New Ambient Music Video

May 31st, 2009 · Comments Off on New Ambient Music Video

Having had the aforementioned week away from playing, I sat down yesterday to do some bass-things. I started out on my fretted 6 string bass, and couldn’t really find anything that was particularly interesting to me (though that may feel very different when I go back to watch the video!), but once I switched to the fretless, things got a lot more fun.
This first video is actually the second one I recorded yesterday, and starts out pretty spacey and mellow. There a big healthy dose of fretless melody stuff in the middle – just exploring the emotional landscape of the underlying loops (which are three overlapping loops of different lengths, so the texture keeps shifting, along with the subtle changes in the harmony as the different parts of the three loops coincide to form new chords). [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News

Two Contrasting New Musical Experiments (Video)

May 9th, 2009 · Comments Off on Two Contrasting New Musical Experiments (Video)

photo of a painting from the Urban Scrawl exhibition in London, April 09Here’s the two latest bits of ‘public beta test music’ that I’ve put up online.

They contrast a couple of different possible uses of the functions I’ve been exploring on the Looperlative of late – the first being using the replace functions as an ancillary bleepy effect in an otherwise mellow ballad, and the second being a full-on rhythmic bleep-fest, that veers much closer to glitch-core (though the fact that my rhythmic reference point is just a fairly slow ‘four on the floor’ kick-drum style pattern is a little less interesting than you’d expect from something more obviously IDM…) [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News

More New Music: Video of a Looperlative Glitchy Bluesy Electronica Experiment

May 6th, 2009 · Comments Off on More New Music: Video of a Looperlative Glitchy Bluesy Electronica Experiment

screen grab of the Vimeo page for the video embedded in this blog post at stevelawson.netHere’s another new ‘public beta’ video – this time, I’m experimenting with some new functions that’ve just been added to the Looperlative LP1. (that’s the looping device I use…)

The new tricks are around the idea of ‘replacing‘ bits of a loop, with other audio, giving it a chopped up, glitchy feel. The main effect I’m using is a ‘quantise replace‘ function, that replaces bits, but switches on on and off on the beat, so when I hit the button it waits for the next exact subdivision of the loop (in this case, 1/96th of the whole loop time) before doing anything, and again to switch off again. [Read more →]

Tags: looping · Music News