MYSTERY SEA 17 | Whitebass | [Depth Of Field]


click to enlarge front click to enlarge back


- "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 project...
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
till Amalgam...
"Depth Of Field" reframes, refocuses
like a close-up of a magnetizing second reality...
like learning to swim between the lines...


01. Depth Of Field > unrar + listen !




VITAL WEEKLY 450|Frans De Waard
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 so far.
vital weekly

Touching Extremes |Massimo Ricci
Clinton 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 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.

touching extremes

CHAIN D.L.K.|Eugenio Maggi
Rated : 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.


>>> back to the Reviews index