Lorenzo Feliciati and Colin Edwin – Twinscapes (2014)

We never question the notion of two guitarists playing alongside each other but the idea of two bassists doubling up the low end still seems to be an exotic proposition. And perhaps the little-explored possibilities presented by that setup enticed two broad-minded bass players to merge their talents into an album that’s uncommon…and uncommonly good.

Italian Lorenzo Feliciati (Naked Truth, Berzerk!) & Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree, Metallic Taste of Blood) do more than simply amplify the role of the bass twofold on their upcoming collaboration for RareNoise Records Twinscapes, they collectively expand the harmonic palette of instrument to demonstrate how it’s capable of going way beyond just emitting deep toned pulses.

The two use many tools available to convince you of that: fretted and fretless basses, various effects and pedals, like “SuperEgo” and “Space Station.” It’s all applied to create a space fusion that groove, soothes and euphonic. So much so, that you don’t need bass solos at all to enjoy it but there are a few included to further your listening enjoyment.

“Shaken” immediately establishes the template: Textures and harmony in pursuit of whatever sounds good, is the name of the game (and with Bill Laswell mixing these recordings, the sheen on them is unquestionably silky). Roberto Gualdi is thrash-grooving on the drums like Edwin’s PT mate Gavin Harrison, but it’s Edwin soloing on fretless bass that takes center stage. Feliciati finds his role playing by octaves on his bass, among other things, extending the range of his instrument that co-exists alongside Edwin playing it more traditionally, and doing so without intruding in the least.

Feliciati’s rhapsodic “Alice” is a groove slathered in space and ambience. It’s undertaken with the composer playing the main bass parts while Edwin undertakes the lyrical parts, almost assuming a singing role. Both of the main protagonists exploit pedal effects for Dreamland,” which some may call a downtempo tune but this one sports an actual bridge. A fantastic bass solo by Edwin erupts after that, percolating like Jaco.

For those looking for a little metal in their fusion, “Conspiracy” does the job, a funk-rock electro beat with metallic velour. One bass is playing a lead guitar role inside a lot of space left between the low and high ends. “Perfect Tool” suggests electronica dance, but made more intriguing by the layers stacked on top of the programmed riff, which moves into another one. Both bassists can be heard grooving in different, complimentary ways.

This is just the kind of musical environment experimental ambient trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær thrives in, so perhaps it’s not that surprising he was brought in to lend his lonely, resonating tones to the tracks “Transparent” and the as-advertised “Sparse.” Van der Graf Generator saxophonist David Jackson is utilized brilliantly on “i-Dea,” where against a 21st century world fusion backdrop, Jackson is dubbed over himself to create a unique sax harmony that resembles synth chords and then he solos over it. It creates quite an ethereal effect.

Steeped in a rich complexion and gleaming musicianship that serves the song, not the ego, Twinscapes is the one you save for your good headphones and just get lost in it.

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Twinscapes will hit the streets March 3 via RareNoise Records.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.