REVIEW: Bones & Money ‘Close/Anxious’
Progressive bass music has taken some interesting turns in the past. At times, weaving through the irrelevant, the genre has always had the potential to be something greater than the norm. Some acts have shined, others have flopped but there has always been a distal void, waiting to be filled by who knows what. With the introductory release of Tuff Wax darling, Bones & Money, we believe that experimental bass music listeners have now found their renaissance man.
Bones & Money, no matter how playful the name, creates some seriously competitive minimal music. It’s no surprise that I’m a sucker for pause work, and honestly, while some may find space superfluous, Bones & Money use it right. With that being said, it takes a special kind of artist to utilize space. When Shaun Fowler (aka: Bones & Money) gets behind a project the man employs one part ingenuity, one part professionalism, and another part courage. After all, it’s not a simple task to create accessible music that incorporates both digital and organic elements; all while mixing the two down in a way that manages to give ample space for the components to shine.
For further justification of Fowlers gallantry, allow me to reference “Anxious,” the second track off of the ‘Close/Anxious’ single. The pace on “Anxious” is enough in itself to make note of, but when coupled with the pitched vocals, the track has an odd tendency to walk a fine line between the hyper-minimal and a muted form of a two-step joint. Delving deeper into the song, the listener comes to the realization that although the song may rely on space, everything on “Anxious” is calculated. Formulaic, a phrase usually stigmatized in terms of experimental bass, can and should be used in describing Bones & Money’s production. Although the term may prompt an adverse response in some circles, in the case of Bones & Money, the utterance should be worn as a badge. Rather, Fowler approaches formality as a quirk; a certain style. Instead of deeming it as evil, B&M cultivates and at times cherishes it’s presence throughout his arrangements. Parallel that with some raw bass kicks and what you end up with is a refreshing albeit minimal take on bass music.
The single opener, “Close,” finds itself at a crossroads between aforementioned minimalism and an avant-garde tribal bash. The simple and crisp groove facilitated by “Close” gives the listener plenty of breathing room while retaining a sense of atmospheric engagement perpetuated by nod inducing kick arrangements. Though arguably the weaker track, “Close,” still maintains a light hearted sense of cerebral joie de vivre, sustained by boisterous vocals and a bass piece that never quits.
At its heart, ‘Closer/Anxious’ plays out as more of a progressive experiment in the realms of space and pace rather than danceable club music, but at least in the case of Bones & Money, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With a release as introspective and calculated as “Close/Anxious,” it is all too easy to pass Bones & Money’s opus off as simple yet accessible experimental bass music. But upon closer examination, I believe that I’m safe in saying that ‘Close/Anxious’ is a brilliant first step towards a brighter future of minimal bass.
Pick up a copy of ‘Close/Anxious’ on Tuff Wax’s bancamp for free.