Bass Clef – ‘Acid Tracts Vol. 1’ Cassette [Magic + Dreams]

One of the most genuine and interesting cats out there has got to be Bass Clef aka Ralph Cumbers. Never met anyone who’s personality comes across so well in their range of music and live shows, never afraid to look at things from a different angle purely to see what sound it makes.

Casually dropped two days ago comes two new releases from the Ralph Cumbers camp, both cassettes in limited form with one Bass Clef project on offer as well as the fourth and final part of the Some Truths cassette series. We’re looking at the Bass Clef one for now, as it’s completely whitewashed over all other music for the last 36 hours.

Acid Tracts Vol. 1 is an appropriately named 60 minute EP, that no doubt will be likened to a Bass Clef club project. To be honest though, Bass Clef is always there to throw up a floor-destroyer or two on his releases, and tagging it like that sells the music on Acid Tracts short. The opening track ‘Strings Of Death‘ sets the attitude, in name and in style; it’s electronic, 120-130ish bpm and doesn’t push the beat too far left to ever lose it. Equally though, it’s distinctive in it’s originality and the way it delivers the message.

Excepting the two beats-styled cuts, the tracks represent what some techno producers would hope to achieve out of a full live performance. Sonically they morph and shift in to new areas, sounding so natural start to finish, and to be honest this is what I want to be listening to; producers who’re fully exploring the journey of a particular idea, vibe, instrument structure etc. Bass Clef experiments and pushes the music until it’s given up something you never would’ve expected, and it results in a brilliant listen.

This is best captured in ‘Lower State Of Consciousness‘ which is house music programming and building of a track on levels that few in FXHE camp have ever reached. Around the 13 minute mark (it’s about 20 in all) you might be listening to the second or third movements in a live set. Incidentally, the following joint then returns us to that blissed out leftfield world of circuitry fields that Bass Clef has inhabited so well on previous releases.

The whole release (including the beats pieces excluded previously) is scattered with the ’90s house and techno attitude that producers are looking to channel once again. The analogue machines and recordings sound as good if not better now though, and with the Bass Clef brain (possibly on Pugs) driving them I’m not surprised.

First spotted on a random twitter post, the design for each tape is entirely unique to each one, hand cut and folded in an edition of 94 copies only by the Magic + Dreams crew. They look and sound amazing. Head over here to get one before they’re gone:

If you miss out it’s also available digitally from the Magic + Dreams bandcamp, where we’ve streamed the below tracks from. Underneath that you’ve got a wonderfully written and surprisingly personal press release from the man himself.

via Bass Clef
ACID TRACTS is the new 6-track e.p. from me, Ralph Cumbers sometimes aka Bass Clef. It’s out now digitally and on a cassette too. It follows on from my last album ‘Reeling Skullways’ which was released by Peverelist’s wonderful Punch Drunk label (and was voted ‘#1 album of all time’ by Outsider House Magazine*), and it precedes a batch of forthcoming Bass Clef 12″s for PAN, Punch Drunk and Public Information.

It was born out of a long weekend of all day and all night sessions, using a borrowed MFB Drum-computer (thanks Ali!), which when hooked-up to the modular synth, made for a wild ride. In hindsight I’m not 100% sure how I made some of these tracks, of which noises came from what, of which cables went where etcetera. I do remember it though as a special weekend of total solitude and immersion, with the moon rising high and the moon shining bright into the studio windows.

One of the tracks is from another time though, and that is ‘lower state of unconsciousness’, which opens side B of the tape. This was made during the ‘Reeling Skullways’ sessions, but at 19 minutes long (and refusing to submit to the razor) it just couldn’t go on the record. It’s the odd one out of the Skullways litter, that had to be kept locked away in the attic. Until now.

‘full moon revenge rainbow’ which closes out the e.p. is one of my favourite things that I’ve done. It’s sort of over-the-top I suppose, very sentimental, and quite badly engineered. But is has a particular kind of just-pre-dawn quality that is hard to capture any other way.

The cassette release is pro-duped onto fluorescent orange tapes and limited to 94 copies, and all the covers are different. They were cut out of various books and magazines. It took me and some good friends of mine a long long time to do. We made a roast and drank wine while we did it. It was a good day. The digital copies are unlimited (not of course infinite though that would be weird) and I assume they are all the same, but who knows, maybe some of the bytes change every time.