Karl Clews, Nomad…
Following Dissident and Navigator, Nomad is the concluding installment of Karl Clews’ first trilogy of bass solo and bass-led albums.
Forming a concept album of sorts, the songs are arranged into four thematic ‘suites’, linked by interludes, depicting the journey taken by a traveler through life. Beginning in Telluria, a familiar landscape of cities and towns, of culture and philosophy, our intrepid nomad heads out to Oceanea, a seascape of uncertainty, fluidity and hidden dangers as he tries to determine his direction in the world.
From there, he alights in Empyrea, a lofty land of dreams and ambition, of achievement and invention. But still the nomad moves on, in his quest to experience all there is to experience in life, and finds the end of his journey, if not his life itself, in the dark place that is Eschatonia, a landscape of fear, destruction, confusion and death.
Musically, the progression from Karl’s previous albums is clear: the piccolo and tenor basses are featured more heavily, along with occasional acoustic bass, as his compositions have become more varied and more ambitious. We still see the same stylistic range, from the blistering cop-show slap-funk of opener Enforcer to the blissful melancholic balladry of The Last Days of Reason, but interspersed now with deeper tracks, more cinematic in scope, such as the disconcerting Warbaby and the cat-and-mouse musical chase of In Search of Submarines.
Karl has also widened the scope of his musical collaborations on this album. Alongside longtime collaborators Richie Dittrich on drums, Bertrand Huvé on sax and Ciaran Storey on guitar, we are introduced to the trumpet and flugelhorn of Michael Barkley, who adds a bracing new flavour to Karl’s musical gumbo on a handful of tracks.
Nomad is available to stream and download from all the usual digital platforms, and for those who still appreciate the value of a material object, a limited number of CDs, in special gatefold wallets, are available from Karl’s Bandcamp page, karlclewsbass.bandcamp.com
Visit online at karlclews.com