Traversal – Josh Werner (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Once you hear the term “dreamweaver” used to describe Josh Werner, it is difficult to think of him needing any other name. Musician seems to undersell the minimalist majesty and ambient grace of his music. Bassist also seems to give the wrong impression, even though it is the predominant instrument in this composition, in the same way the you wouldn’t call Monet “a guy with a brush.” Another term which I love is the description of his previous band Helio Parallax as “Sci Fi Dub Noir”…another great soundbite for what he does.

But labels aside, Traversal, an advanced teaser track for the forthcoming full-length album Mode For Titan, is a gorgeous blend of understated grace and meandering moods. Built around the gentle pulse of the bass, waves of low-end purity dressed with shimmering top notes and washes of lighter texture, it falls into the realms of ambient soundtrack. But unlike many fragile and faded soundscapes which such a generic description might indicate, Traversal is a much more robust beast. Robust but never intrusive, preferring to lull and cradle and cocoon with the most gossamer of musical trappings.

It is music which reminds us that the bass guitar is a most versatile instrument indeed and any limitations regarding its capabilities lie in the hands, and indeed the head, of the player rather than in the sonic potential of the instrument itself. It may be more associated with groove and drive in most peoples minds but in the right hands it can be as diverse, delicate, expansive, ambient, emotive and immersive as any other instrument.

Suffice it to say, Traversal is the sound of the bass guitar in exactly the right hands.

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