Bjorn Meyer – Provenance

Album: Provenance

Artist: Bjorn Meyer

Label: ECM

Release Date: September 29, 2017

The Upshot: Former member of Ronin and a bass maestro submits a showcase for instrumental melodicism.


Solo bass guitar albums tend to preach to the converted, appealing mainly to megafans of the instrumentalist involved. Provenance, the debut solo album from Bjorn Meyer, may change that. The former bottom-thumper for Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, the Sweden-born/Switzerland-based Meyer has experience bending improvisation to melody’s will, and takes full advantage of his skills here. Lovely, sedate pieces like “Traces of a Song,” “Trails Crossing” and “Banyan Waltz” find melody lines and stick to them, with Meyer using the round thrum of his instrument to carry the tunes, rather than pummel them. “Pulse” lives up to its title with a more insistent groove, but the melodic appeal still reigns. “Dance” and “Squizzle,” the latter performed on an acoustic bass guitar, get busier and funkier, as one might more typically expect from a bass-oriented project, but still sing. Most of the songs bring to mind solo acoustic six-string players from the American Primitive school, where melodic repetition meets subtle skill and a certain sweetness holds technical Onanism at bay. Provenance isn’t a technique-oriented shred-a-thon, but a showcase for instrumental melodicism that just happens to use the bass as its medium.

DOWNLOAD: “Traces of a Song,” “Pulse,” “Banyan Waltz”

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