by Aaron Lumley

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Nekyia 05:57
Psychopomp 03:31


Daniel Barbiero - Avant Music News
With the introduction of metal strings in the 1950s, the double bass took on the modern sound it continues to have today. Because they’re able to lie close to the fingerboard, metal strings can afford fast movement; because of their composition and uniformity of size, they can produce a relatively bright, highly focused tone and respond predictably and quickly to bow and finger. And yet…The gut strings they replaced, while harder to maintain and more resistant to the hand and bow, had peculiarities of timbre and touch that, in some circumstances, could offer advantages. In the hands of a vigorous free improviser like Aaron Lumley, gut strings’ darker, coarser-grained sound is perfectly suited.

The ten pieces on Lumley’s Katabasis/Anabasis bear witness to an exploratory bassist with an aggressively physical attack—a collision of player and played erupting in a series of rattling, grinding, and creaking exclamations from deep within the instrument. Lumley has a strong and varied pizzicato that complements a robust arco exerting a compelling weight on the strings. One can almost see those strings visibly vibrating with each stroke of the bow or strike of the hand.-

Lawrence Joseph - Musicworks Magazine #126:
[…]Lumley goes further, examining the bass from all angles; the cassette’s single piece is a careful sonic study of plucking, bowing, and knocking, as if to diagnose whatever afflictions may plague this enormous carved mystery-box. The results are more organized and more organic than extended-technique noise often implies, as motifs are repeatedly morphed and stretched until another naturally appears. While the relentless rumble is not for the astraphobic, the hour-long cassette will satisfy those seeking dark adventures.”

Pierre Cécile - le son du grisli:
Les photos que le label Small Scale Music a utilisées pour l’artwork de cette cassette nous montrent Aaron Lumley, la trentaine, en pleine forêt (pas de persistants, vu que les arbres sont nus). Il a l’air de lutter contre la nature, le contrebassiste, au moment d’entamer l’ascension d’une pente de feuilles mortes et une fois stabilisé on le sent encore subjugué par le mystère des éléments.

En même temps, était-il obligé d’aller jouer dans ce sous-bois ? Non, d’autant que ces quatorze prises l’ont été à La Passe, Montreal, certainement dans un studio tout ce qu’il y a de plus classique. Ce qui expliquerait la séance photo (en plus du fait que John Eckhardt a été son professeur) serait alors ce lien à la terre et à la nature que le musicien a l’air d’avoir chevillé au corps (certains titres le prouvent : Grappling with a River, Mountain Goats’ Dance, By the Light of a Blood Moon…).

Ni trop improvisée ni trop expérimentale, la musique d'Aaron Lumley (pizzi ou à l’archet qu’il a de vif sauf quand il s’en sert comme d’un bout de bois), se veut donc… organique. Et elle l’est en effet. Comme la nature, elle peut aussi être belle, chatoyante, agaçante et de temps en temps longue comme une nuit d’hiver. Peut-être pas encore aboutie, ceci étant. Mais dans une saison ou deux, qui sait ? -

Frans de Waard - Vital Weekly:
Also of Aaron Lumley I may not have heard before. This cassette is the follow-up to his 2012 LP 'Wilderness', released by Tone Wood Editions. Lumley plays double bass, and all of the ten pieces, spanning close to an hour worth of music, was played live and recorded with a single pair of stereo microphones and there were no overdubs afterwards. This most certainly not easy music; it is quite dark and sombre, but no doubt some of that is of course to thank the darker tone of the double bass for. Sometimes the tone is all melancholy, but Lumley also knows how to play it with a bit more aggression, so he's not trying to lull the listener to deep
sleep. [...] It was all a bit too much to take in all at once, but this
certainly had some great beauty anyway. - vitalweekly.net/1039.html

Donovan Burtan - Positively Underground:
The word “grappling” serves as a suitable description for Aaron Lumley’s bass work on his newest solo album Katabasis/Anabasis. Throughout the album there is a constant push and pull pressing on the emotions of the listener as Lumley tests the limits of each of his melodic ideas and extended techniques. On the tune “Grappling with a River,” Lumley instills a certain anxiousness from the very beginning by tightly gripping his bow, ripping a stressed tone from the strings of his instrument. Resolution is avoided throughout the 12 minute track making for an intense experience that sticks out as a highlight on a fantastic long-form album.


released June 2, 2016

Aaron Lumley celebrates a decade of playing the double bass with the release of his new solo cassette, KATABASIS/ANABASIS . Released on Montreal's innovative DIY label Small Scale Music, KATABASIS/ANABASIS offers up an hour of intense, beautiful acoustic double bass explorations and improvisations. As the follow-up to Lumley's critically-lauded debut LP, Wilderness (Tone Wood Editions, 2012), KATABASIS/ANABASIS burns with bluesy gut string riffage, aggressive/expressive arco passages, and ghostly overtone meditations. The album was recorded live with a single pair of stereo mics and no overdubs. Tracks were then later edited into two continuous, harrowing and psychedelic sides. KATABASIS/ANABASIS is unvarnished, passionate, and adventurous bass music that deals in pushing against limits—those of both the corporeal body and the musical imagination—and processes of creation, breakdown and renewal.

“Lumley reaches lonesome heights of the highest mystic calibre.” —Aaron Levin, Weird Canada

bass music by Aaron Lumley, Socan 2016
recorded by Mathieu Belanger on
2016-02-12 & 2016-02-28 at La Passe, Montreal
produced by Mathieu Belanger, Raphael Foisy-Couture
and Aaron Lumley
mastered by Adrian Roy-Taylor
photography by Marielle Groven

love and gratitude to Mathieu, Raph, Adrian and Marielle
for their help in making this album

for Zoë Nudell - in commemoration and in celebration

a Small Scale Music edition of 100


all rights reserved



Small Scale Music Montréal, Québec

Small Scale Music is an independently run music label interested in releasing challenging music (Free Improvisation, Noise, Free Jazz...) primarily on small runs of tapes, cd, zines and digitally.

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