PRESS COMMENT 1    Peter Herbert - bassooka    
 
    From NY's downtown music gallery newsletter (by Bruce Lee Gallanter):    
         
    Peter Herbert - bassooka/music for one to sixteen basses (Aziza Music 1003) Solo contrabass recordings used to quite a rare thing, it would be difficult to list a dozen of them, but here goes - Malachi Favors, Peter Kowald, Barre Phillips, Dave Holland, Joelle Leandre, William Parker, Kent Carter, Mark Dresser, Michael Formanek, Paul Rogers, Barry Guy and now our Austrian born/NY based friend Peter Herbert. Mark Dresser has done a fine job of writing the illuminating liner notes, which discuss the historic perspective and difficult endeavor of over-dubbing up 16 basses and stilling telling a convincing story. The brief opening track "King Dear" has dense layers of tapping, rubbing, bowing on different angles of the strings to create a cosmic buzz. "Verloren" has austere, floating layers of bowed basses which move in waves from one bass to numerous bowed and buzzing lines which are filled with immense suspense. "Filmrequiem" is in 8 parts, each one developing a different mood or vibe. "Part 1" is all creepy, wooden sounds - two basses to bang on and two basses to bow, there is much intricate interweaving of parts, various layers which answer each other or connect in different places. Often Peter will play a melody on one bass and the tap other bass(es) like a percussion instrument. "Part 2" produces a wealth of eerie effects by adding levels of twisted sounds, coaxed from different approaches to bass manipulation - some recognizable sounds, some not, but all fascinating and evocative. On "Part 5", I swear I hear flutes in the mix, perhaps it is the an echo of the bowed bass higher frequencies, hard to tell and quite mystifying. The title of this piece seems most appropriate, since each part evokes some many visual images, perfect for film music. One section sounds as if some is tap-dancing on the bass!?! "Two Hands" is for two basses, both softly plucked and tapped, elegant, warm-toned and soothing. "Gamelan" is for 11 basses tapped with thin wooden sticks and does have gamelan-like sound and an exotic, hypnotic vibe. "Feld-Weg-Rot" is another hushed, suspenseful, melancholy layer of bowed basses which buzz together like a swarm of bees on a lazy Spring day. The only non-original tune found here is Miles Davis' "Nardis" which is for solo bass and it is filled with passion and grace. The last piece is "Neige Grave V" for six basses and it is a mesmerizing and sort-of funky groove which has the bouncing beat of percussive bass banging and a couple of dancing bass parts on top - an infectious groove and perfect way to commence this wonderful solo bass(es) offering.    
             
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