Iaen Crawford/Double Bassist Magazine    

Naked Bass
Peter Herbert

Austrian Bassist Peter Herbert has released this CD in tandem with transcriptions of his partially improvised solo performances, also reviewed in this issue. Experiencing the recording before consulting the scores is recommended. Herbert explores unconventional sonic possibilities in many of the works, and gradually acclimatises the listener to his world, with the opneing track ?Nice Pizz' featuring a mere few slpas and tickles. The incredibly groovy ?Slow Octane' ups the ante with rhythmic mutings, strums and knocks combining fluently with straight pizzicato, ?Arpeggios' is pure Bach on acid, and would be a brave coda to one of the cello suites or gamba sonatas. ?Friendly Fire 1&2' followed by ?Friendly Fire 3' exhibit a refined compositional sense, and feature an impressive amalgam of colours and sounds. Naked Bass showcases works by other comporsers: Mark Helias ?Like I said' begins with a plaintive theme but soon develops into an impossibly fast pizzicato improvisation. Herbert's central work, ?Noodle Sticks', requires preparation of the instrument by inserting chopsticks bewteen strings and variously plucking, pulling and scraping them. Listening to the alien percussive rhythms is wonderfully hypnotic, especially while methods of production remain a mystery. The subtle nature of many of these effects requires close miking, which in turn renders Herbert's very breathing part of the musical experience. Herbert's obvious melodic sense is subsumed into his own mesmeric riffs and colours, with the rattle and hum of ?Noodle Sticks' lingering longest in the memory.

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