Eberhard Weber: Pendulum - CD

ECM Records

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1x CD
ECM Records Cat#:
1.10.1993 in Germany
Original Release:
Label ECM Records Cat# 519 707-2
Eberhard Weber
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Solo pieces for single instruments are actually not my favorite music. I have always preferred orchestral sounds. Strangely enough, I came across the double bass, of all things, that awkward instrument which, according to conventional understanding, can produce only dark, low tones.

Obviously the first thing was to drag the instrument itself out of that murky cellar; to make it as easy to play as possible so it could serve as a solo instrument. What I had in mind could not be achieved with the double bass: an instrument had to be developed, a 'special bass', whose sound-palette (and playability) would make all kinds of new music possible. With the new instrument I developed a new compositional style; a process that was not always without its problems. The much touted emancipation of the bass frequently nullified the instrument's traditional subservient function in the ensemble.

A desire to put all my musical ambitions and my function as a bass player under one hat made me enter the world of the loner. However in my case playing alone does not mean sending individual notes meaningfully into space. Basically, there is nothing wrong with it, but who wants to spend a whole evening listening to individual tones, deeply fraught with meaning? I'd rather make music with the help of certain aids, that permit me to carry on a kind of dialogue with myself and liberate me from the isolation of a solo performance – at least acoustically.

The discovery of the echo unit was a turning point for me. Being able to store sounds, tones, rhythms and bass lines quite spontaneously during a live concert, and to replay them at will gives me almost unlimited exploratory pleasure. This is fundamentally different from using prerecorded tapes, because you can give free rein to your spontaneous creation.

This is how it works: an echo unit stores everything that has been played and gives it all back (as in nature) after a short time. Modern technology has long since 'improved' on 'imperfect' nature: an echo can sound just as loud as the original; the time-lag can be changed, ditto the number of echoes. I can invent, add on, underlay and fade out a vast array of sounds, rhythms, notes or chords, according to the inspiration of the moment. In short: an orchestral something, a small cosmos of acoustic information and sound impulses is spontaneously available.

Orchestra was my first published work using the techniques described here. My aim in that production was to maintain the live character of the music at all costs. In Orchestra you hear only sounds and events that could be performed on a concert stage. I did without overdubs, doublings or cuts which are possible only in the studio.

In Pendulum I have given up this self-limitation. More than ever I am interested in the end product, and for quite some time now I have been free from the need to prove that one person can do it all. All sounds and effects are produced with my special bass without artifice, absolutely 'synthesizer-free'. Every single sound could be reproduced live, but not the events and structures, for example the quick change from effect to effect. Every new storage or alteration simply requires a certain amount of input-time, and I think that in a studio recording it really can't hurt to shorten these procedures.

Why do I play everything alone? The answer is simple. The bass just happens to be my life-long preoccupation. Also my old adversary. And I have long been dissatisfied with using this instrument in the traditional way. I find it a lot more exciting to make all those strange, witty, unmistakable, unique sounds that only an obstinate lover can coax from this stubborn instrument.

The bass as orchestra – if that isn't a challenge.

Eberhard Weber


1 Bird Out Of Cage 5:04
2 Notes After An Evening 4:15
3 Delirium 5:20
4 Children's Song No. 1 5:41
5 Street Scenes 5:26
6 Silent For A While 7:42
7 Pendulum 8:41
8 Unfinished Self-Portrait 4:34
9 Closing Scene 6:36

Bass, Composed By, Producer, Liner Notes [German] – Eberhard Weber

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