Steven Wilson is no stranger to composing music that appears to counter everything else before it in a vast catalogue that includes his work in Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Storm Corrosion, No-Man, solo records under his own name, plus much more.

Begun in the mid-90s, Bass Communion is a solo project dedicated to exploring his deviations into the realms of ambient, drone, noise and other sub-genres. This has resulted in ten Bass Communion albums to date, plus numerous collaborative projects. ‘The Itself Of Itself’ represents his first all-new work under the name for more than 12 years and maintains his perverse streak.

Long established in this guise as a purveyor of mostly atmospheric or ambient textures, the seven cuts that represent ‘The Itself Of Itself’ also take detours from this approach in order to draw from musique concrete, noise music, abstract electronics and other uneasy listening. Although still rippled with the same shades of light and dark that can be found throughout all of his work as Bass Communion, the new album reveals a fascination with analogue sounds and, more importantly perhaps, ‘unwanted’ analogue artefacts such as tape hiss, wow and flutter, static noise and sonic break-up, taking the music into a different space.

‘Apparition 3’ presents a stark nod to Wilson’s established command of shifting textures steeped in penumbral gauze, while ‘Bruise’ is akin to a space probe adrift and headed towards a white dwarf as all communication is reduced to a disturbing and indecipherable crackle. Elsewhere, fragmented, garbled and buried voices, vast vacillating banks of grainy hum, what sounds like the dying gasps of an oboe, spooky swirls from an indiscernible source, swathes of tape hiss, moody drones and spiralling slivers of noise can all be heard. On the ten minute title track, a mellotron flute rusts and collapses in on itself in a way that renders it the very antithesis of the one deployed on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

It makes for a dynamic listening experience where unease, dread and comparatively claustrophobic torrents of sound make (un)natural bedfellows to moments of enchantment and serenity. However, above all, ‘The Itself Of Itself’ sees Wilson craft an album that is at once cinematic and moody and proves him to be a master in electronic music craftsmanship. Spreading its weatherbeaten wings to embrace new strategies and a strong desire to journey elsewhere, it might surprise some long term followers of his work as Bass Communion, but setting out to please everyone has never been part of his raison d’être.

‘The Itself Of Itself’ is housed in a beautiful Carl Glover designed sleeve that also includes a 24 page booklet of his photographs and an obi strip.

1  Unperson    10:34
2  Apparition 3   6:04
3  Bruise   13:19
4  Blackmail   7:24
5  The Itself of Itself   10:24
6  Study for Tape Hiss and Other Audio Artefacts   11:58
7  Apparition 5   02:46

An exclusive new Bass Communion track, the nine minute ‘To The Ship Now Underwater’, appears on ‘When Worlds Collide’, a 2xLP compilation also due in May via Fourth Dimension/Lumberton Trading Company. Other artists included on the limited edition set include Edward Ka-Spel of The Legendary Pink Dots, Alternative TV, Final, Sion Orgon, Splintered, Kleistwahr, Ashtray Navigations and more.
2xLP pre-order

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