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The Beans

Back around the time that I first started getting into the whole Canadian scene of instrumental bands that I stumbled across a band simply known as The Beans. This was well before I'd heard of Antipop Consortium and before they broke up and a member of their group went solo as Beans. This was back in the day when Godspeed You! Black Emperor were still new on the scene and Canada was still the brunt of jokes about Bryan Adams. At any rate, I sought out The Beans' second release, the Tired Snow EP and have followed them since.

Although there are other groups who create music who moves me to greater highs or lows (gotta have music for both, you know), The Beans have always managed to be fairly consistent. They seem willing to take a few chances in terms of their sound and although they don't blow you away with their sonics, they are one of the best at what they do. What they do is create instrumental music that is hypnotic and often beautiful, and like their previous release Inner Cosmosis, it finds them much more focused than on early discs.

Although it was recorded over the course of almost 3 years, Bassplayer is an amazingly cohesive album that consists of 4 tracks that run almost 11 minutes apiece. While the sonic elements going into each piece (guitars, bass, drums, loops, horns) remain the same, each track has its own ebbs and flows and create little mini-journeys that work both well on their own and as a piece of the overall puzzle. The opening track of "May 6th Expires" opens with subtle buzzing feedback before drifting into lazy guitar tones that slowly coalesce into a rolling soundtrack before dissolving again. "Galuda" opens with a more driving rhythm and haunting single note tones that eventually give way to ambience haunted by found-sound samples of undecipherable people talking.

"Number Four" works in almost reverse order from that track, starting out quietly and layering on elements at a snails pace before giving way again. As expected, the group saves the best for last on "My Love Is A Rainbow / Infused Dodechahedron" as the marching-band drums and building guitars explode into a glorious finale that would make any GY!BE or even Explosions In The Sky fan giddy. Like all their crescendos, it's a fairly controlled one, but because they keep such an even keel on the majority of the release, small changes are still felt and even make more of a sonic footprint. If you like previous work by The Beans, you won't go wrong here, and if you have yet to hear their work, this is about as good of an entry point you'll find.

Rating: 7.5