It was audacious enough for Philadelphia bassist Julie Slick to tour with Adrian Belew at just 19, let alone to rack up experience with Stewart Copeland, Ann Wilson, Jon Anderson, and Alice Cooper all by age 24. So why not a highly experimental and delightfully challenging debut solo album as well? This avant-garde instrumental fusion of progressive rock, funk, and electronica isn’t about virtuosic soling, or compositional high-wire walking, or even song form at all. It’s more about sounds, textures, and moments in Slick’s inventive sonic kaleidoscope. Accompanied by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, and drummers Pat Mastelotto, Marco Minnemann, and brother Eric Slick, Julie creates an uptempo, acid-tripped, angularmelodied loop soundtrack (“Mela”), a Pink Floyd-inspired minor progressive dirge (“Nothing to Be Done”), a hypnotic, Nine Inch Nails Ghosts-era pattern with bells, chimes, hand claps, and driving bass (“Shadow Trip”), and a slab of hardcharging punk electronica (“The Rivalry” and “Cage Match”). Slick’s collection of grooves and soundscapes are unpredictable and highly original, and her aggressively picked bass somehow gives it all a fresh, anti-muso edge. Some might even recommend playing this disc at 20 after four. We wouldn’t argue, but from where we sit, it’s worth spinning anytime.
Augury Fragmentary Evidence
Here’s a welcome development— as death metal turns ever more technical, the bass is becoming not just increasingly audible (there’s a start!), but more complex, counterpunctual, and essential to the actual song. That’s certainly the case with Montreal-based Augury’s second album Fragmentary Evidence, as bassist Dominic “Forest” LaPointe summons an unholy alliance of influences—Jaco Pastorius, Steve DiGiorgio, Adam Nitti?! — and throws down fierce, technique-driven lines all over the necks of his fretless, his 6- string, you name it. With a dark, warm, growling tone that somehow gets sweet up high, LaPointe opens “Sovereigns Unknown” with a furious tapping and fingerpicked riff, drives “Simian Cattle” with a neck-spanning, double- stop tri-tone lick, and performs a chordal/arpeggiated tour-de-force on “Jupiter To Ignite.” The deeper into the disc you go, the more you want to hear what he does next. So, metal bassists: come for the expected payoff of well-delive