Björn Meyer ‘Provenance’ LP/CD (ECM) 4/5

What wonderful surprises the ECM label can offer up with hitherto unrecognised musicians who offer atmospheric recordings of great depth and beauty. This is one such example from Swedish bassist Björn Meyer on this intoxicating all original set. Meyer has collaborated with Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem and Persian harpist/singer Asita Hamidi and is a long-time member of the Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin band, but this solo debut is all about generating sounds on the bass.

It is the hypnotic beauty of the sounds generated that impressed this writer most and the evident virtuosity is backed up by a musical mind that communicates his love of roots music across the globe. A real favourite is the flamenco-fusion fingering on the guitar intro to ‘Squizzle’, and along with jazz references, there is a supplementary country-folk flavour on some of the pieces that takes the parameters of the playing to its outer most limits. On a number such as ‘Three Thirteen’, the bass is performed as a lead rhythm guitar and the gorgeous sound lingers long on the mind. Equally melodic is the title track. Space is a key element that informs Meyer’s music and he explains himself thus:

“… the music is deeply influenced by the properties of the space where it is played. The many different ways in which acoustics affect my compositions and improvisations have always been sources of surprise and inspiration. There is definitely a second member in this solo project – the room!”.

Recorded at the RSI in Lugano, and Meyer now resides in neighbouring Switzerland, this recording really typifies what the ECM label is all about. Constantly experimenting with sounds and allowing the musician all the time and space they require to produce something of lasting value.

Tim Stenhouse