Four Days of Bass

Since we’re in the last four selections I figured why not start selecting the songs I most readily think about when I think about bass guitar. I’ll drop the slight continued steam of consciousness that the previous posts where sort of linking themselves to one another, and just offer a few random picks where the bass work will speak for itself.

The first one I want to talk about is from The Boo Radleys’ widely far reaching 12” Lazarus EP coming from the same sessions that resulted in their August 1993 masterpiece release, Giant Steps. The extended ‘Lazarus’ on the EP preceded the slightly shorter version that appears on Giant Steps’ side two by a few weeks and showed the band moving in titanically new avenues. In the extended version the song is a varied kaleidoscope of genre, moving as adept at dub reggae bass as it is to shimmering shoe-gaze infected BritPop. It was the sound of the band at that exact moment; willing to try anything and miraculously pull it all off, for in a brief time period in 1993 the Boo Radley’s were perhaps the greatest band in the world.

Tim Brown, the bassist for the entire Boo Radley’s career, is a player of great taste, a fact evident when the longer ‘Lazarus’ is spun; his sweeping bubbling bass ascends down around 44 seconds in and proceeds to anchor the shifting dynamics throughout. He’s given a nice bit of stereo effect as he picks the pace up a bit 30 seconds later, before seeing his volume rise as the song reaches its many crescendos. It’s a repetitive groove, but as the band expands and contracts around him during the song you realize just how vital his simplistic aplomb is for the entire thing; it’s a baseline that is a half-dozen genres at once and never receding to cliché. Tremendous.

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