Album Review: Bass Clef / ‘Reeling Skullways’ (Punch Drunk)


It’s always the way. You’re just getting comfortable with an artist’s individual side – in the case of Bass Clef’s Ralph Cumbers, a dubstep spectacle involving a trusty trombone – and then he departs into something different. In reality Reeling Skullways is just another day in the life of the London/Bristol alchemist. Aside from confirming that most dubstep producers have got a 4×4 album waiting to get out, Cumbers has already made a name out of daring to be different by morphing his brass into all sorts, and has more than his fair share of side projects.

Freehand strategies are out, straight ahead, spacious and space-fired house and techno (and verbose titles) are in. Bass Clef shows sensibility in deep rhythms with astral offshoots (the perfectly named acid spiral “Hackney-Chicago-Jupiter”) that, though definitely not dubstep, will fit nicely in the side drawer of many a bass imprint. The spring-loaded “Electricity Comes From Other Planets” and the kaleidoscopic “Stenaline Metranil Solar Flare” are the most notable tracks to edge their way across intersections but stay organized, and “Suddenly Alone Together” keeps some dubstep segments spare as if to keep the faith and followers onside. Decisively in the zone rather than handing out anything joyous, playtime is over on a neat sidestep into another sideline.
File under: Scuba, Eats Everything, Peverilist