Around 2013, there was a kind of "breakpoint" in Steve's output, as beautifully illustrated by Tom Alves (@DancingMonk) in this tweet: twitter.com/Dancing_Monk/status/1544803722638893057?s=20&t=njVdRNXDGKqvJV_z_GbABw
which shows a TREBLING of output in 2013 compared to 2012. Starting the Bandcamp subscription for his work, Steve was able to put out work in progress, live recordings, sketches, ideas. This was not new in itself - Steve had done so via Soundcloud and various Street Team shares before - but rather this was a mutually beneficial setup where supporters could underwrite Steve's musical R&D while receiving ALL content produced across the year AND pretty much everything he had released to date. Many of the tracks in the "Best of..." compilations 2013 - 2021 were released solely to subscribers in this period. If this is your first hearing of these tracks, then this is what you've missed. Of course, it's not too late to sign up to Steve's subscription and get these releases in full, and any future exclusives.
For my part, collaborating with Tom on the "Best of..." compilations Pts1 & 2 was easy as there was simply less to choose from. When Tom started compiling the 2013 - 2021 "Best of..." series, I simply couldn't keep up, and with other personal commitments I had to bow out. What you hear in this compilation is Tom's careful curation and diligence to compile similar cross-sections of Steve's enormous output to the "Best of..." Pts 1 & 2.
Where the music here differs from the previous compilation is that it dives deeper into improvisation, adding drums, keyboard sounds, and other glitchy effects. To my ears, the music in Steve's later works tends to follow a couple of patterns: 1/ Start with intentionally weird, wonky or dissonant sounds, then refine and contextualise these towards a more coherent end result or 2/ Start with beautiful textures, melodies, chord sequences and then, in a sort of sonic entropy, have these collapse, turn in on themselves, fall apart and disintegrate before resolving (sometimes) into an "end state". This often makes the tunes a more challenging listen on first time around. The set of tunes here illustrates these first two tropes, but also in places an evolved version of the 2000-2013 Steve sound and style.
Tom (like me) has a bias against the wonky, skittery beats and so has avoided that end of Steve's output, however beats are not entirely absent here. As with the other compilations, this is a carefully curated set rather than a "Best of..." And as with the other compilations, the pieces come together nicely to form a cohesive playlist, giving the listener a guided tour of the weird and wonderful world of @solobasssteve.
I'd like to thank Tom for his hard work in compiling this playlist.
Click through on the tracks to see Steve's original description of the album or track.
- Mike K Smith