- thought i'd pass this on -from where i saw it on mikewatt list -
pretty interesting and DR Das's thing seems to relate to the group
dynamic thing i was trying to talk about
this is pretty interesting too
By Dr Das on Friday, August 31, 2001 - 06:39 pm:
To me, being a bassist is about expression. When I
play, I'm trying to convey my love of music, people,
my family, anger, joy, spirituality-a yearning to find
God (believe it or not, frustration, etc. In fact, I
think it's every player's responsibility to express
and interpret the theme or meaning of a piece of
music/song and not just be 'functional.' For this
reason, notions of 'backing,' 'backing musicians,'
'backing tape' etc are anathema to me. EVERYONE in ADF
is the 'rhythm section.' Everyone is responsible for
supporting and inspiring everyone else. Ornette
Coleman tried to break down the distinction between
rhythm section and soloists. 'Western pop' often has
this musical hierarchy.
In ADF, we've got dub mentality. Dub is a militant
musical notion as it inverts this idea of 'backing'.
The backing IS the music. The bass and drums are not
reliant upon other sounds, like guitar or horns for
instance, to justify their existence. When these other
elements are present, they ENHANCE music that is
Hip hop took it further- it's only the drums that are
needed to get on with things, though there is still a
one-note bass element in the bass drum (often with an
808 bass drum.)
(I think this idea is important for bassists and
musicians in general, wishing to get on with music
making independently, whilst still looking for that
collective situation. When I heard what 23 Skidoo were
doing in the 80s, I thought "I've got a pair of
congas-I could form a band, rather than just look for
'percussionist wanted' notices." But I digress.)
The main emphasis in my playing is MELODY, especially
cyclical melodies based in one key (modal playing.)
I'm not very much into key changes. This comes from
listening to Indian classical music and getting more
into the instrument playing the cyclical scale
defining the raga rather than the soloist. Again,
expression is associated with mostly with soloing but
to me, repetition can convey just as much meaning and
Melody in bass playing is not often perceived or
acknowledged unless the bass is playing in a higher
register or is soloing. Some people have said
Radiohead's "Kid A" is lacking in melody. But there
are loads of bassline melodies there, most obviously
on "The National Anthem" and "Morning Bell."
In Dub, bass is more often than not the main melody
from which even vocal ideas emerge. Lee Perry would
have reels of drum patterns with bass melodies, ie.
"riddims" to which vocalists would try out their
lyrics. This is music making from the 'bottom
upwards'- the bassline as 'hookline.' And talking of
hooklines, Peter Hooks b'lines work exactly like this-
defining often the melody of the song. My favourite is
"She's Lost Control" of which there's an ADF version
laying in wait.
Emphasis on melody doesn't mean I relinquish
traditional rock resposibilities of the bass like time
keeping, liasing with the drummer and grooving- but
these come as standard.
If Chandrasonic has already got a strong melody on the
guitar, I try and find what I call a 'counter-melody.'
"Naxalite" has strong bass and guitar melodies that
work together. Someone can hear them together or focus
on them seperately depending upon what drug state
they're in. Often, we play the same pattern- 'unison
lines'as at the end of Naxalite and in "PKNB"
(inspired by Bad Brains.) Aston Barrett was the master
of counter melody. Bob Marley wrote strong vocal
hooklines and harmonies often moving through chords
and written on acoustic guitar. Barrett (also Marley's
musical arranger) still managed to write catchy
basslines that didn't detract from the other melodies.
"Exodus" is a strong example and check out the whole
Jah Wobble's great innovation was to take reggae bass
and principles and execute them in other contexts. His
recent work with musicians from Laos ("Molam Dub") and
Temple of Sound ("Peoples'Colony No. 1") are
There are many other bassists whose output reflect and
have affected my attitude towards playing bass. And
many bassists with different perspectives.I hope more
people become inspired to adopt it as a tool of
in response to;
By babar on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:31 am:
from japanese bass magazine
"How do you consider the role of the bassist within a
a bass -- always -- a shadow -- a musical instrument
-- it is caught
It is the light of the outfield when it says on
However, I do not think so.
When a bassist cheers up other men, he also shine.
If the best performance of a member can be pulled out,
it means that it had been successful with my
The sound of a bass is felt rather than it hears it.
A bass is not only a technique and it is important
what phrase is performed.
The physical law is controlling the performance.
Sound becomes smaller as there are many notes.
Therefore, if only a suitable note is chosen and
performed, sound can be heard thickly.
When working as a band member of J.Mascis,
how is the role of the bass in his band caught?
I am always going to become the existence like a jump
A diver will carry out a splendid jump to a pool from
a diving board (smile).
I am going to make the firm foundation to which other
musicians can fly, and shine.
A bass is in a strange position.
The element of a drum is also contained in the bass
the element of a guitar is also contained in it.
Although it is close to a bass drum,
a fundamental place becomes the existence near a
guitar, when flipping a high note.
And this band begins from the idea of J fundamentally.
Therefore, his talk is often heard and it is made to
put it into execution.
In giving a band, it is important to often hear a
It is the thing with every same band.
It is important that just a bassist considers and
hears it. "