AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: John Eckhardt – Forresta [Depth of Field Music]

tumblr_lxabqahvmm1r9wbh4o1_r1_1280With Forresta, German bassist John Eckhardt temporarily puts aside the double bass for an excursion into soundscapes generated by electric bass guitar and accompanying live electronics.

This new release represents a significant departure from Eckhardt’s Xylobiont, an excellent piece dedicated to exploring extended techniques and sound production for solo acoustic double bass. Where Xylobiont consists in an organic, directly tactile testing of the sonic limits of an unamplified instrument, Forresta turns instead to the sounds of an electric instrument once removed and enhanced through the creative use of loops and pedals.

Although rooted in the bass guitar, the tracks on Forresta more often than not obscure the instrument’s fingerprints. Lower frequencies predominate—sometimes as a throbbing presence, sometimes as a heavily reverberant rumble–but higher-pitched sounds, like the chords floating over the ground of Subflora, the release’s longest and most developed track, appear as well. Throughout Eckhardt’s concern is not just with sound but with architecture; the fitting together of figures and motifs with strategically-placed silences, bursts of abstract sound or rhythmic ligaments shows a facility for creating coherent forms out of disparate parts.

Not only does Forresta highlight Eckhardt’s musical sensibility, but its issuance as an edition of one hundred LPs, each individual unit of which has its own unique cover, allows Eckhardt to demonstrate his visual sensibility as a close-in photographer of forest flora.

Daniel Barbiero