Solo double bass albums, or double bass duets, or even larger formats of double basses are not exceptional phenomena anymore, and since Barre Philips recorded the first-ever eponymous solo double bass album «Journal Violone» in 1968, many innovative free-improvisers followed his model. «Bass to Bass» brings together two such innovative double bass players – Swiss, Gothenburg-based Nina de Heney, known for her ongoing work with pianist Lisa Ullén, and Polish Sławek Janicki who played before duets with Peter Brötzmann, Sainkho Namtchulak, and Mark Feldman and who is also a producer, film-maker and owner of the Mózg club in Bydgoszcz, where their duo was recorded in November 2019. Janicki p. The cover art was done by another exceptional double bass player, Belgian Peter Jacquemyn, who is also a visual artist.
It is impossible to say who is doing what on this recording. But it is immediately clear that the intimate, deep-toned conversation between de Heney and Janicki on the 26-minutes of «First touch» is full of surprising sonic inventions, nuanced rhythmic layers, positive but challenging tension, and wild imagination, without counting their impressive extended bowing techniques. De Heney and Janicky keep each other’s on edge and their intense conversation is often raw and wild, sometimes gentle, and openly emotional, especially when they flirt with multiphonics and overtones, but most of the time it is simply poetic and inspiring. De Heney and Janicky play all over the double basses, employing its wooden bodies to intensify percussive ideas, and eventually sound like one massive and restless bull fiddle.
The shorter «Final movement» sounds like a left-off-center chamber piece, with delicate and recurring melodic veins, compassionate bowing gestures, and patient interplay.
An exemplary free-improvisations, exploring a rich and profound spectrum of sounds, moods and dynamics.
Nina De Heney (b), Sławek Janicki (b)