Delighted to present a series of solo double bass improvisations and compositions from London-based musician, Caius Williams, recorded in March 2023.
Across Gwannach's eight tracks Williams' playing spans a wide range of texture and tactility, that at times seems to conjure forth every bit of weight and heft of the instrument’s body and at other times barely seems to graze the strings.
Williams gives the impression of being fully present in every aspect of the performance, with the recordings capturing each hiss and rasp of bow on string, each shift and knock of palm on (wooden) body; embracing all of these aspects as being just as much of the whole as the resultant vibration of the strings.
There’s an undeniable abundance of technical prowess on display here, but this is no dry academic exercise, and the medium is never the totality of the message. Each of these tracks encompasses a broad swathe of approaches, from gritty fuzz and burr to harmonic-inflected lyricism, and an almost playful curiosity in approach that never feels forced. Above all you get the sense of a fully embodied performance, with each track being given just the right amount of space and depth that it requires.
The 'weakness' of the album's title can, at times, stand in stark contrast to the physicality of the performances, but perhaps we shouldn't take this too literally. After all, the relative strength of a single strand of horsehair may not withstand much, but it can still bring forth as much beauty as can be found here.
All music by Caius Williams
Session engineered by William Lydon
Mixed by Caius Williams
Mastered by Oli Barrett
Artwork by Kit Derbyshire
Thanks to Theo, Tara, and Noah for their advice, to Kit for the artwork, and a huge thanks to Abby Thomas, Oli Barrett, and OTOROKU.
Special thanks to Tom Challenger for the support.
Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC
1. O - 4.42
2. Gwan - 1.07
3. Tear/Tear - 4.37
4. Aime - 1.25
5. Ame - 5.36
6. Willing - 3.32
7. Tolc - 2.08
8. Gwannach - 3.46
Caius Williams is an improviser, bassist, and composer from London with a varied practice including improvised music, electronic music, and projects exploring experimental approaches to composition.
Alongside his involvement in various groups and partnerships in and around London, Caius works frequently as a bandleader, and has recently completed and recorded his first large-ensemble project (‘Thread’), and a solo project for double bass. Some current collaborative/supportive roles include a duo project with guitarist Tara Cunningham, playing for songwriter and producer ‘feeo’, and recently working in ‘Lifetones’: a project led by Charles Bullen of ‘This Heat’, alongside working with many of London’s notable improvisers.
He has been running and curating the ‘Grain’ residency at Avalon Cafe in Bermondsey for the last year, and is in collaboration with saxophonist Tom Challenger on releasing a series of recordings of improvisations and new works, recorded as part of the residency.