Luke Stewart “Works For Electric Bass Guitar”

There’s not much out there like Luke Stewart’s solo works for electric bass. This new joint for Tripticks Tapes (who are having an unbelievalbe run right now) is a one-take, surprisingly meditative excursion where the technique develops a range of alien sonics that, at times, barely sound like bass at all. 

Not everything on Works For Electic Bass Guitar is pensive, sometimes it downright cryptic. On the opening piece, it sounds like someone trying to claw their way out of being buried a live. Rustled scratching and rapid-fire fretwork combine to create a claustrophobic palette. Stewart grinds across the strings, moving with frantic purpose. It’s unsettling, but impossible not to dig into. 

Elsewhere, Stewart’s quick techniques remind me a bit of the thing Brandon Lopez does with his bowed turned upside down, bouncing across the bridge of his upright bass. The actual technique is totally different, obviously, but sonically there’s a connective tissue. This bubbling weirdness permeates the third piece, but the added harmonics intertwined in the percussive jaunts add a soothing air to the introspective track. That feeling continues in certain passages on the following cut, though an effervescent musicality bleeds through as Stewart bumps out fervent tonal stretches. Again, it opens an improbably contemplative space where my mind wanders and rests.

Once more Luke Stewart shows why he’s one of my favorite artists around and why his work is always worth seeking out. Works For Electric Bass Guitar is another singular, deep zone that digs through the surface to unearth new noises for the earthbound.

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