The electric bass is usually not thought of as a lead instrument. Joshua Crumbly takes the thumping strings into new and unusual places on the first single, “The See”, from his forthcoming 8th October release ForEver. Crumbly also plays electronic drums and percussion to fill the empty spaces and employs the assistance of alto saxophonist Sam Gendel to create an unusual and somewhat unnerving auditory experience. The music offers a mysterious journey into the unknown. There is something simultaneously comforting and frightening about the sounds.
The video of “The See” features Crumbly as an explorer of planets, mountain ranges, ice, water, and the like. The scenery fits the sonic travels. There is something about the low notes that captures the sensation of being in a weightless atmosphere. The bass serves as the rhythm of breathing within the spacesuit. It is slow and labored. Yet this allows for comforting gulps and slows down one’s metabolism.
This is jazz for the adventurous listener and is as far away from Dixieland as Iowa is from the Ryukyu Islands. That said, Crumbly seems intent on making the bass a comforting reminder of existence in an alien world where nothing is familiar except for the sounds we create. His instrument becomes an extension of his own senses.