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A Little Lower Than The Angels

from The Way Home by Steve Lawson

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This one owes SO much of its inspiration to Divinity Roxx. These two solo albums are the first time I’ve ever incorporated anything other than bass into my own performance set up. I’ve had guests on solo records before (Jez Carr on And Nothing But The Bass, BJ Cole and Julie McKee on Behind Every Word) but never played anything else myself... I’d assumed when I did it would probably be acoustic guitar (Lobelia being an acoustic guitar means there are quite a few around the house, and I play them as though they’re short-scale piccolo basses ;) )

...but then I got hold of a Keith McMillen Quneo just after I started recording for these albums (note: there’s a subscriber-only album that came out from the beginnings of these sessions called Closing In - the last track on that was the first thing I recorded with the Quneo - The Ice Cracks But Holds Firm, which is also on A Crack Where The Light Gets In :) #trivia)

Anyway, back to the story of influence - the FingerPainting set with Daniel Berkman was an incredible opportunity to explore rhythm in new ways, with one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever stepped on stage with. Daniel’s ability to bend and stretch time, to follow the very much non-metric contours of one of my loops and create magic from it, that felt like someone opening a door to a new musical world. (I’m going to expand on this in a proper essay about groove soon... keep an eye on my website for that...)

Then this year, my duo project with Divinity happened - we met up for a week to experiment with ideas. For the unfortunate few who haven’t encountered Divinity, she’s an incredible bassist (toured with Beyoncé for 6 years, and Victor Wooten before that), singer, rapper, composer, producer... A truly wonderful creative force. In the course of our musical explorations, she started playing drum parts using the pads on a keyboard, into her loops, combining bass, beatbox, elec. percussion and bits of rap/backing vocals into an extraordinary canvas. We were able to switch looping duties back and forth, and explore so many different textures and ideas.

After that, I HAD to try adding percussion in. The project with Divinity allowed me to properly integrate my life-long love of hip-hop with what I’m about as a solo artist. And this track is pretty much the pinnacle of that. It has Divinity’s fingerprints all over it. Hence the name - a biblical reference to humans being one step down from the divine ;)

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from The Way Home, released September 14, 2015

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Steve Lawson UK

The UK's most celebrated and prolific solo bassist - alternating between solo and collaborative releases - have a rummage around and see what you find. The subscription is by FAR the best way to keep track of the many musical goings on!

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