I was really pleased to read this review of ‘Patches Of Coloured Light‘ by Oliver Arditi. It’s great to get some online reviews, especially one where the reviewer seems to have taken the time to really listen to and understand the album, I think Oli nailed it here.
Andy Long – Patches Of Coloured Light (solo bass)
self released, 2011, DD or CD album, 35m 27s
£name your price (DD)/ £5 (CD)
Most recordings featuring a single instrument, and particularly solo bass recordings, feature a certain amount of showing off. It’s not necessarily the main feature, it’s not necessarily in any way a drawback, but an element of conspicuous virtuosity is often present. It’s as though bass players need to justify putting themselves forward, as though they are saying ‘look, bass is a proper instrument, you can play hard stuff on it’. Andy Long seems content to let others do the proof of concept; he’s released a gentle and unassuming album of simple melody, open texture and limpid atmospheres, under a title that describes his sound as well as anything I could hope to write. Most of the material consists of simple chordal patterns, and delicate traceries of delay effects, although there’s a nice two part piece by Couperin and a lovely arrangement of ‘Morning Has Broken’. Everything is realised with precision and restraint, and the simplicity of the few elements in each arrangement allowsLong’s musical thoughts to come through distinctly; the sound of his bass guitar is a consistent one, full range and bright, enhanced sometimes with modulation effects, but never disguised. It’s hard (impossible) to say whether he uses studio multitracking or live looping techniques, but it honestly hardly matters. His own material is rarely discursive, or even narrative in a conventional sense, but seems to be more focussed on atmosphere. This is not music that grabs you by the throat and demands your attention, but it’s a very relaxing and involving listen, and betrays a great deal of thought and care.
You can read this and other reviews in Oli’s online blog