Karl Clews Returns With “Navigator”
Karl Clews has always had a fascination for the electric bass and its possibilities. Over the years, he has put together some fantastic solo bass renditions of popular songs, and in 2020 he released his first album of bass-led original pieces called Dissident.
“The bass is traditionally perceived as a monophonic, accompanying instrument, and as such is generally heard in an ensemble setting where a vocal and/or some other instrument(s) provide the harmonies and melodies to complete the sound,” Clews writes. “But the bass guitar has come a long way, technologically and in terms of technique since it was first designed, and it’s no longer limited to a supporting role. So I started experimenting with a classical-guitar style technique on the bass to create arrangements in which I was playing not just the bassline, but also the melody and harmony all at the same time, and I would upload these ‘solo bass arrangements’ of popular songs and movie themes to YouTube, just so I had a visual and audio record of them if I ever wanted to play them again since I don’t enjoy writing these things out.”
Now he’s exploring the bass even further on a new record called Navigator, which features our beloved instrument creating nearly all the sounds on the album. “As the title suggests, this album sees me exploring further the concept of the bass as a solo and lead instrument, with more expansive compositions drawing on a wider range of influences, from African to South American styles, from jazz, funk, and fusion to hip-hop, and a wider tonal and textural palette, incorporating piccolo- and tenor basses,” he states.
Clews is joined by a handful of guest musicians: saxophonists Bertrand Huvé and Adam Daniel, guitarist Ciaran Storey, and drummer Richie Dittrich. Everything else is created from his hands and a bass.
Check out the title track:
Navigator is available now via Bandcamp.
Navigator Track List:
- Kayoss Endjinn
- The Far Islands
- Cherry Blossom
- Le Zoulou Blanc
- State of Grace
- Under The Skin
- Dança Dos Perdidos
- The Sunken City
- This Hollow Earth
- Like Tears In Rain