Veteran Colin Bass, a man who was destined to play his chosen instrument, is best known for his tenure with Camel. His Eastern European chum, keyboardist Daniel Biro, has been known to pen a few tunes over the years and is also founder of experimental record label Sargasso.
Together they have observed social distancing rules by the slightly longer two metres between London and Wales and have remotely recorded an album described in the “press release” (what a switch does) as ‘ambient songs and cinematic synthscapes’.
Besides a few smacks on a couple of percussive things, this album is effectively drum free but does have a guest player of the acoustic guitar from Finnish Joonas Widenius, who finishes the songs Old Europe and Hands with probably the fullest of these eleven tracks.
A promising start with Still Life 1 has that prog backbone of the arpeggio analogue synth with the inevitable fretless bass adding to the flavour. This “tune” is reprised as Still at the bookend of the recording but with some plaintive lyrics. In fact, there is a sadness to the whole and with tracks like The Man Who Never Was an apparent ditty about revenge murder? And Heaven which is a laugh a minute reflection on regret? All interpretive anyway, which does add substance to the slow tempo throughout.
Colin Bass’s vocal range is very similar to his other combo’s guitarist Andrew Latimer and their later Dust and Dreams LP seems to come to mind.
Still Life 1 to 3 are instrumentals and probably fall into the chill out definition better than the singy parts, but there is no doubting the pleasant playing and combination of the gentle synths, electric piano, and bass guitar used as a melodic lead.
As a project between friends, the minimalistic intimacy saves the day but returning plays might be limited to those occasions when you’ve just buried the family pet, so maybe best kept in the first aid cabinet next to the plasters. Having said that although this particular cup of tea may not be your cup of tea, it is the musical equivalent of all that a cup of tea means to someone.
01. Still Life 1 (4:05)
02. Summer (5:58)
03. Still Life 2 (0:59)
04. Old Europe (5:59)
05. Once Was A Time (4:26)
06. Faces (4:22)
07. The Man Who Never Was (7:41)
08. Heaven (7:00)
09. Still Life 3 (1:15)
10. Hands (5:58)
11. Still (6:16)
Total Time – 53:59
Colin Bass – Vocals, Bass, Piano
Daniel Biro – Keyboards
Joonas Widenius – Acoustic Guitar (tracks 4 & 10)
Record Label: Sargasso
Date of Release: 26th June 2020