Bass Communion // Freiband – VL Tones (3CD Box Set)

TFCD194 IN SITUHow does an invitation to create a one minute long piece of music based on a single instrument source become a two and a half hour 3CD epic?

Towards the end of 2018 Frans de Waard of Freiband was invited by a Japanese label to create an album of one-minute pieces using only the Casio VL-Tone 1. The VL-Tone is perhaps best known as being the first commercially marketed digital synthesiser, a cheap plastic instrument barely a foot in length. The idea was for each track to be a joint effort with a different collaborator from Frans’ past musical career. One of those collaborators was Steven Wilson of Bass Communion – the two over the years have recorded two 3inch CDr’s, an LP and a flexi disc. Steven had no VL Tone, but Frans sent him a few raw recorded sources made using the two that he owned. Using these, Steven quickly created five one minute pieces for consideration. One was selected for the compilation…

… And that might have been the end of the story. Except that Frans suggested using the other 4 pieces as source material for further collaborative work. Subsequently, over the next few months several hours of music was generated, with each musician processing what the other would send, using both digital and analogue technology, resulting in a plethora of mixes. The only rule was that the only sound sources allowed were the original VL Tone recordings, now twisted, reshaped, and reprocessed beyond all recognition. Once the 2 musicians had decided enough was enough, the final selection was made, edited and sequenced to create the listening experience found on the first 2 discs in this set. The 4 original miniature pieces are heard both in their original form, and then processed through many transformations; from dark ambient to musique concrete collage-style pieces, from rhythmic to drone-ambient, from brief interludes to lengthy journeys.

The third disc comprises additional pieces that didn’t make the main selection, but nevertheless the 2 collaborators liked them enough to include them on a bonus disc.

Cover design by Carl Glover. The sleeve notes comprise a time-line conversation between Bass Communion and Freiband during this project.

VL Tones will be out from November 29, 2019 as a one-off 3CD Box with poster, limited to 1000 numbered copies. Available to pre-order from the store!