LISTEN: Some Truths’ Live Modular Session

Bass Clef's Ralph Cumbers turns in a live set to mark the release of his new album under his Some Truths guise, Bliss Abyss

Ralph Cumbers, aka Bass Clef, has donned his Some Truths cap for a new release. Bliss Abyss is out now on We Can Elude Control, the label run by Emptyset’s Paul Purgas, and now distributed by Multiverse Music, courtesy of his partner-in-crime in the Bristol duo, James Ginzburg. Cumbers hasn’t wasted any time in getting on with the new album, having already put out Some Friends I Lost To Bedlam, Others I Abandoned There on Mordant Music this year, with Bliss Abyss being the product of a resurrected Roland TR-606 drum machine and Eurorack modular system feeding onto no fewer than 25 tapes, "creating imperfect palimpsests as sound leaked through from layers of previous recordings".

To mark the release, Cumbers kindly reanimated the system to record a 40-minute live set for us. Writing about the album, the label say it sees Cumbers "filtering… technological and esoteric histories through a razor-sharp dancefloor sensibility and a defiant ear for both intricate construction and dynamics" and it’d be fair to say there’s more than a little of that going on here: the drum machine is never less than a kinetic, almost overactive presence, an incessant pulse strafed by the synths, switching between cosmic strobes and pleasingly earthy bass whomps.

Cumbers tells us of the set: "So I was in a foul and abyssal mood, life is hard boohoo now shut up already and make some music. It was late Sunday night or early Monday morning depending, and the Roland TR-606 was definitely in charge, the beat, the pulse was the driver, don’t mention the m*tr*k-word, I was swirling and whirlpooling through some rough seas, finding some islands which later sank, dredging some wrecks and this is a tired maritime metaphor ok, but it’s hard to find words to rationalise your intuitive nonsense, afterwards.

"There’s not much in the way of melodies, and every time I listen to it I think the downbeat is in a different place, everything is overdriven, but tenderly and with care. There’s no edits but not because I would have objected to them – I was planning to stitch together something good out of four or five takes, but this one just arrived fully-formed, gnarled and twisted but with a few truths within. I called it ‘deathwishbones’ because that is what it is called."

Listen to it above and get hold of Bliss Abyss (that’s the artwork below) here.

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