Sunday, 20 July 2014

Steve Lawson and Jon Thorne – “Diversion: Live at the London Bass Guitar Show”

Capturing a special event in time and music can occasionally be a matter of good fortune, as this recording of Steve Lawson and Jon Thorne improvising at the London Bass Guitar Show in 2014 illustrates. As can be the case with well-executed improvised music the listener is drawn into the moment with the players, and can, with enough time and patience, almost become part of the performance itself. “Diversion” is a gently undulating aural massage with the occasional provocative shard of eddying electronica. The overall mood is one of fragility held together with a restrained tension that pulls the listener further and further into the traded phrases. The fretless bass guitar sound has a melancholy all of its’ own, and here we see it used to add further levels of poignancy. Slightly shorter in duration, “A Place of Beauty” has all the exquisiteness of an improvisation held together with a sense of premeditated composition. Double bass guitar solos and improvisations often hold a further organic quality as the sound of the strings being plucked and manoeuvred can add human textures to the sound. Layer this with sensitive electronics and the overall experience can highlight the symbiotic relationship between the acoustic and the electronic.

Two pieces in all, and twenty minutes in total, “Diversion” feels that the collaboration could have produced some intricately moving pieces of improvisation. But, as we have considered, capturing these moments is not always something that can be premeditated, and we must console ourselves with the knowledge that there are players and events that can facilitate these luxurious recordings.