Bomb the Bass
Record Review by Marcel Feldmar
This is not something I would usually choose to listen to, my tastes tending to move away from bands with names that make me think of the '80s dance movement, but when I noticed the special guests that were included with this album, I had to take a chance and hope that my ears would find some saving graces.
Bomb the Bass is basically the work of British producer and sample-freak Tim Simenon. While his early years are very tied in to the whole hip-hop rave electronica dance scene, it seems that as he progressed into the '90s, the music moved into a more trip-hop vibe, as well as pushing against the more hard edged punk-techno side of things.
So where are we now, here in the late 2000s? We have the Bomb the Bass of Future Chaos. We have the deep electronic dark trip-hop moodiness going on, but we also have vocal contributions that range from the stylings of Mark Lanegan to Fujiya and Miyagi to Jon Spencer, Mister Blues Explosion himself. The main vocalist featured, however, is Paul Conboy, who lends his voice to five of the nine songs, starting out with the first track, “Smog”, where he holds down some pretty nice Thom Yorke touched singing. The mood of the album is consistent, but with enough variation between songs to keep it interesting. A little cold and alien at times, but never static. There are always shadows floating over the ice, new grooves, new waves, new moves.
Fujiya and Miyagi get a little techno bubble Britpop trip-disco on “Butterfingers”, Paul Conboy is supposedly the singer on “Old John”, but I swear Mark Lanegan is adding his voice into the mix here. It’s that dark and heavy UNKLE slide into synth-heaven, and I’m feeling so happy that this isn’t a throwback to some mid-80s rave.
The actual "featuring Mark Lanegan" track hits 7th on the playlist, and it just doesn’t matter what you put behind his vocals, they just get me every time. Screaming Trees, UNKLE, Queens of the Stone Age, Gutter Twins, I don’t care. The music here is a little stark and full of atmospheric keyboard hits, the electrodrums pulsing along behind Lanegan’s croon, and for whatever reason, it works. Now, what’s Jon Spencer going to do? I slide through the trip-hop techno meets Dead Can Dance vibrato of “Hold Me Up” and into the final track. “Fuzzbox”.
It’s a little upbeat and danced-out, but to hear Jon Spencer talking about wanting and needing his nasty and dirty fuzz is worth the listen. We’re talking fuzz pedal here, in case you’re getting the wrong idea. It’s dirty, but in that rock and roll distortion kind of way, and if this is Bomb the Bass right now, I’m looking forward to more of this chaos in the future.