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Edmund Welles: The Bass Clarinet Quartet / Agrippa's 3 Books
Album:Agrippa's 3 Books Collection:General
Artist:Edmund Welles: The Bass Clarinet Quartet Added:02/2006
Label:Zeroth Law 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2006-02-26 Pull Date:2006-04-30 Charts:Jazz
Week Ending:30 Apr23 Apr16 Apr9 Apr2 Apr26 Mar19 Mar12 Mar

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Album Review
Ben Wolfson
Reviewed 2006-02-18 
Self-styled “heavy chamber music”, a tag which fits. Bass clarinet quartet with some real virtuoso playing; the general strategy is that a few of the clarinets lay down a low rhythm while one or two others play more melodically over them, sometimes quite high for a bass instrument. Most of the tracks are pretty intense. The use of just a single instrument and the focus on a heavy sound puts this group apart from most other chamber-rock groups.
Best: 2, 5, 6, 8
The first six tracks form a suite, but feel free to disregard that in playing.
1. Slow, minor-key intro to the suite. Not as rhythmically intense as what follows, it's got a nice mournful melody.
2. Starts off with a metal-ish riff, then moves into a faster, brighter section with some nice trills and (imo) a very catchy melody. Slows down in the middle section for a churchy unison bit (to my ears), and comes back to a modified version of the preceding, and ends frenetically.
3. The high reeds here in the beginning against the churning low reeds sound like a demented take on western swing. The churny lower part continues, but the higher part becomes dirge-like. This track was apparently inspired by Buddy Guy's Sweet Tea, and is supposed to be vaguely blues-based, and there is in fact a pair of nice bluesy solos starting -4:30. -2:52 track becomes much more explicitly bluesy, and more uptempo.
4. 7/4 throughout plus angular melodies equals sorta reminiscent of early Univers Zero. Lengthy somewhat slow-moving middle section, blooms into an intense solo.
5. Low slow riffs open, slow lamenting melody over it. Then the rhythm bass gets faster—sounds like they're trying to imitate blastbeats! This section's inspired by death metal, and it shows. There are some nice slow dirgy bits and some fast riffing and on-a-dime changes.
6. An arrangement of the end of a Bethlehem tune; it's not unlike 1, actually. Long held notes in the low parts and a higher, sad/resigned melody on top.
Tracks 7-9 are metal covers; I'm unfamiliar with the originals, except for the Spinal Tap one.
7. Black Sabbath cover. This is pretty good—my one complaint is that it goes on a little long, though the middle section here is excellent and surprisingly swinging.
8. Sepultura cover. The lead high part is great, overblown and approaching the sound of a distorted guitar.
9. Spinal Tap cover. Of “Big Bottom”. Give them credit for a sense of humor, and it works surprisingly well, and affords the members some interesting playing opportunities. This is the most straightforward track on the record.

Track Listing
1.Prelude: The Conspiracy Manifests 5.Asmodeus: The Destroyer, King Of The Demons
2.Cause And Effect 6.Postlude: Aphel, Die Schwarze Schlange
3.The Black Lodge 7.Into The Void
4.Corso V. Torchia 8.Roots Bloody Roots
 9.Big Bottom