After seeing the magnificent Swans live for a second time this past weekend, I was reminded that any collection on the importance of bass in a (pop) song should probably contain at least a passing reference to a band so indebted and embracing of the deep sonic qualities afforded by the four-string. They currently do a truly mesmerizingly funky ‘A Little God in My Hands’ live, often stretching its length twice (or three times) its above recorded studio version. As the song unfurls the band get more and more aggressive in its execution, taking an already angry piece of white guy funk to an altogether deeper, hypnotic nightmare state. Its bass both drives and descends the madness deeper and deeper, reaching the Swans to their ultimate original promised ethos: religious trance repetition hymns to humans in their pre-religious evolutionary state, when deities where merely the natural elements available to us to sustain life: art, air, food, shelter, water.
(the bass is played here by Swans’ member Christopher Pravdica, who has been their full time bass player since 2010; other Pravdica highlights within the Swans are the rubble inducing “Oxygen’ and ‘Jim’; delicately masterful playing on the surface, but played with a volume and intensity that belies their simplicity)