Itsas Behera – Marée Basse


The idea for a double bass solo about aquatic life was born five years ago, when Surmenian first performed Ama Ur, a looper improvisation, at now-defunct Altxerri jazz club in Donostia. It was clear that his next move would be a bold double bass performance about water and the sea. Playing alone and using a looper allows the artist to work by himself, without compromising stylistically, and to control the dynamics, an essential condition to make use of all the rich tones and shades that the instrument offers. During the Covid period, his work matured with different means and an orchestral character began to emerge.

In 2022, a first performance of Marée Basse took place at Jazz à Vialas festival in France. Meanwhile, the project was selected by the Cultural Hall of Getxo as a residency for musical projects, and there the development of the music and text continued, expanding the production with the dancer Araitz Lasa collaboration.

In this album, Surmenian presents eight solo double bass pieces that make up the Marée Basse – Itsas Behera– Low tide show, including texts from the libretto and a bonus track.

In contrast to a strictly studio recording, this record was conceived as a live performance. Musical and sound layers were created on the spot and the pieces’ architecture were adapted for the use of a looper. However, the compositions were recorded live, with no audience, in January 2022 and March 2023 at Crisóstomo Arriaga Conservatory auditorium.

The editor wonders: Will the audience like this proposal of unclassifiable style?

Will it not be too classical for the jazz fan, too contemporary for the classical audience, and/or too melodic for the contemporary audience?

Surmenian dares to go off the regular path, believing that his music will reach anyone who likes any of these styles and the ones who know how to listen without prejudice. Undoubtedly, we must give him every reason to do so.

Double bass plays the main role, constantly changing its appearance, accumulating, combining, stripping, and layering loops in a magic instrument form, suggesting a kind of sound sculpture, both concrete and abstract.

This music, which is minimalist and meditative at many points, invites us to close our eyes and forget what the instrument of origin is, to look at the vast oceanic horizon of our inner self and to let our imagination fly. Could the inaccessible, incomprehensible and at the same time delicate and fragile vastness of the oceans and seas that Surmenian loves so much be represented in a more beautiful and adequate way?

We should listen to Marée Basse as we look at the sea, without trying to understand it, but simply interiorizing and enjoying this mysterious beauty that completely surpasses us.

At that very moment we should think that it is not so. The sea is neither infinite nor immortal and that we are killing it little by little with our greedy and irresponsible way of life. Perhaps we can listen, see, think, and understand, just for a while, that it is possible to do things differently and that it is in our power to do so.

In a very Eric Surmenian style, breaking away from conventional paths and experimenting with new musical ways to delight the tuned listener.

Disc Type: CD
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