Solo double bass recordings, once an almost unheard-of rarity, have since their first appearances become an almost routine addition to the genre of solo instrumental recordings. What was true of solo double bass recordings several decades ago is largely true of solo electric bass recordings—while not entirely lacking, they still aren’t routinely encountered, and can sound refreshing when they are. Planetes, the debut album from Shigaraki, is one such recording.
The artist behind Shigaraki is Franz Cardone, an electric bassist from Pescara, Italy. Cardone is bassist for the band Sherpa; Shigaraki is the solo project through which he explores some of the more expansive possibilities offered by the electric bass alone. On Planetes Cardone works with an economy of musical material which he augments by running his instrument through effects and processing with Ableton. The result is a series of well-constructed pieces with a pronounced musicality. Some of the tracks, such as 7020 and 7021, are atmospheric, reverberant sound tapestries that warp cosmic synthesizer music in a particularly contemporary way. Others, like ABC Asteroid Belt Colonization and Orbita 2, center on the narrative possibilities of advanced bass guitar techniques. The album, which tells a story of interplanetary travel and settlement, is bookended by opening and closing tracks featuring Cardone’s vocals.