BASS COMMUNION – The Itself of Itself


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Steven Wilson is no stranger to composing music that appears to counter everything else before it in his catalogue. Bass Communion, his long running solo electronic project, is no exception to this perverse streak that apparently likes to turn all expectations upside down. The Itself of Itself, Bass Communion’s first album for 12 years, skillfully pays testament to this.

Long established as a purveyor of mostly atmospheric or ambient textures, the seven cuts that represent The Itself of Itself take detours from this approach in order draw as much from musique concrete, noise music, abstract electronics and uneasy listening. Whilst still rippled with the same shades of light and dark that can be found throughout all of Bass Communion’s work, The Itself of Itself reveals a fascination with analogue sounds and, more importantly perhaps, ‘unwanted’ analogue artefacts like tape hiss, wow and flutter, static noise, and sonic break-up, taking the music into a space at once different yet familiar.  ‘Apparition 3’ presents a stark nod to Wilson’s established command of shifting textures steeped in penumbral gauze, while ‘Bruise’ is akin to a space probe adrift and headed towards a white dwarf as all communication is reduced to a disturbing and indecipherable crackle.

Between the other five cuts we witness fragmented, garbled and buried voices, vast vacillating banks of grainy hum, what sounds like the dying gasps of an oboe, spooky swirls from an indiscernible source, swathes of tape hiss, moody drones, and spiralling slivers of noise. Meanwhile on the title track, a mellotron flute rusts and collapses in on itself in a way that renders it the very antithesis of the one deployed on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

Everything adds up to a dynamic listening experience where unease, dread and comparatively claustrophobic torrents of sound make (un)natural bedfellows to moments of enchantment and serenity.

Above all, The Itself of Itself sees Steven Wilson cutting his teeth on an album that’s at once cinematic and moody whilst proving him to be a master in electronic music craftsmanship. It’s an album that might surprise some of those who have thus far been paying attention to his work as Bass Communion, but setting out to please everyone was never part of his raison d‘etre. The Itself of Itself catches Bass Communion spreading its weatherbeaten wings to embrace new strategies and a strong desire to journey elsewhere.

Arriving in a wonderful Carl Glover designed deluxe cover, including a 24pp. booklet of his photographs and an obi strip, “The Itself of Itself” was released in late May 2024 on Lumberton Trading Company as a CD pressed in an initial run of 1000 copies.


1. Unperson    10:34
2. Apparition 3   6:04
3. Bruise   13:19
4. Blackmail   7:24
5. The Itself of Itself   10:24
6. Study for Tape Hiss and Other Audio Artefacts   11.58
7. Apparition 5   02:46

Additional information

Weight 3 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 5 × .3 in