SEA 17 | Whitebass | [Depth Of Field]
"Depth of Field is a work that is
a culmination of audible photographic out takes of previously recorded
tracks over a ten year period. Incremental sounds reconstituted and
reworked are layered together creating a four movement piece."
- Clinton Watkins, May 2004
Clinton Watkins lives
in some of the remotest land of this world (New Zea[land], precisely).
Previously known for some collaborative & split releases with ESO
STEEL (AKA Richard Francis) under the DOE moniker, and also for a couple
more confidential works, this time as THREE on the 20 CITY label, here
he presents us his shimmering debut for his new WHITEBASS
The accurately named "Depth Of Field", and
specific MS creation is all about points of perspective, and varying
degrees of perception...
emergences along a vague axis & primal inner path...
an aural translation of an impermanent state of flux...
a sedimental sea awakened from torpor...
Blinded by white light
or some vivid glimmers in the unfolding night,
a motion is instilled, miming a slow birth...
Echoes of erosion bounce
probing an undefined space,
and sparse elements recompose themselves
"Depth Of Field" reframes, refocuses
like a close-up of a magnetizing second reality...
like learning to swim between the lines...
Depth Of Field >
+ listen !
VITAL WEEKLY 450|Frans
Behind Whitebass is
one Clinton Watkins who used to work previously as
Doe, releasing some material in relation with Eso Steel. I am not sure
why he changed into Whitebass, but looking at the title
and bandname I can imagine what this is about : depth is certainly the
field, and when people speak of depth in music they usually speak of
deep bass sounds. Very faint clicks appear at seemingly random intervals.
I was reminded of Jonathan Coleclough's 'Windlass' release here. A very consistent work this
'Depth Of Field', pure deep ambient music. Maybe I
miss out the link to the deep sea that usually is part of Mystery Sea
releases, but what is pressed here on this CDR is certainly one of the
better works on this label, and can easily match the best works of Coleclough,
Mirror or Ora. Highlight of the Mystery Sea catalogue
Extremes |Massimo Ricci
Watkins, from New Zealand, is the deus ex machina moving the spectacular
subsonic conjugations that fill the whole "Depth of field";
under the Whitebass moniker, Watkins put us in contemplative state right
after the very first moments of listening. Reduced mobility, relaxed
nerves and suddenly...no thoughts whatsoever, a total void just slightly
broken by some gestural normality. The foggy stoutness of impressive
infrasounds create an inverse feedback with silence, revealing itself
piece by piece in a seductive game of pushing forward what we could
never be able to speak about, yet still try to, sounding so incredibly
superficial every time. Now it's the drone itself that does the speaking:
its purposeless defiance to our heartbeat exists only as a relative
perfection in the imaginary scaffolding of this unsoiled vertigo. This
music passes like clouds, reminding us not to be too optimist about
our capacity of controlling life's scenarios.
: 4 stars out of 5
I was not familiar
with the works of New Zealand artist Clinton Watkins,
who has collaborated with Richard Francis (Eso Steel/CMR label) in the
DOE project and released solo stuff as Three - and I regret not knowing
more, because his debut as Whitebass is absolutely brilliant, surely
one of my favourite drone works of 2004. The night/ocean theme behind
Mystery Sea is powerfully conveyed by this 40-minute track, mostly based
on amp-cracking bass frequencies: heavy, thick low-end drones, best
enjoyed with headphones or in a very silent environment. The track evolves
at a glacial, but steady, speed, and when you feel you've reached the
bottom of the ocean, your eardrums imploded for the pressure, a menacing
pulse painfully brings you back to breathing. The whole work is incredibly
powerful and cohesive, even when indulging in silent territories. Its
mind- and time-bending quality reminded me of Lull's masterpiece "Cold
Summer", but take it as a feel more than as a direct reference.
One of the most engaging ambient works I've listened to this year.
to the Reviews index