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Martina Berther

We're very proud to present 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬: 𝐀𝐬 𝐈 𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 is the debut solo album by bassist Martina Berther. The Zurich-based artist has been exploring and expanding upon the sonic potentials of her instrument in her live practice for years. The twelve pieces draw on her improvisational approach, but were continuously refined as fully fleshed-out compositions that Berther recorded in one take, with no edits made or overdubs added afterwards. 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬: 𝐀𝐬 𝐈 𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 hence serves as a lively snapshot of an on-going explorative process, collecting these pieces in one place to give them a space in which to unfold.

Starting with the lush drones of the opener '6Chords' to the crunchy rhythmic noise of 'Wool' and the almost elegiac closing track 'Mini Gong', the album sees Berther indeed venture into the untapped potentials of her instrument as well as into unknown territory herself: She travels through the strange limbo between the concrete and the abstract, the liveness of improvisation and compositional rigour, open-ended experimentation and a unique artistic vision.

Berther is at home in many different musical words. Trained in jazz, she is a member of genre-bending bands such as Ester Poly and AUL, has worked as a live musician for Sophie Hunger and recently collaborated with Philipp Schlotter. Since 2017, she has been playing fully improvised live solo sets using pedals, preparations, and additional objects as well as unconventional playing techniques. "During rehearsals for the concerts and on stage, I discovered a plethora of new sounds", explains Berther.

𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬: 𝐀𝐬 𝐈 𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 can be understood as an archive of this as much as it chronicles the artist’s development as an improviser and composer. Berther refers to the individual pieces as brief stories, with the track titles capturing the mood of the respective pieces or referring to the tools she used to construct sonic narratives out of previous improvisations. Having recorded roughly 90 minutes of material, she narrowed down the selection to twelve pieces that interlock to form a cohesive story arc.

The main narrative of 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬: 𝐀𝐬 𝐈 𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 is that of a bassist engaging with her instrument in novel ways while also redefining herself as a musician. "The bass is usually used in bands to lay a foundation and provide structure," explains Berther. "Over the past few years, I was surprised to discover how I sound when I free myself from conventions and compromises."

The preliminary result of this (self-)discovery process is an album that both invites its listeners to venture into the unthought-of possibilities of the bass while also rewarding attentive deep listening with sonic richness and complexity. As a snapshot of Berther’s practice, it already hints at further progress.


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