Starting is an album of barely restrained power. An ambitious debut solo album by bassist Matt Nelson, it is full of resonant textures and poignant silences. Each track has a simple one word name alluding to a concept or emotion Matt expresses through visceral soundscapes he scrapes, scratches, plucks and pulls out of his bass. From the first crescendoing overtone rich bowing on the opening track ‘Honesty’ the listener is transported to a space that feels intimate but universal. One immediately gets the sense that Matt is holding intense currents of emotion buckling just under the surface of the plaintive moaning of his bowed bass. ‘Honesty’ is followed by ‘Peace’, some of the only pizzicato playing on the record. Here Matt flirts with a simple consonance that betrays his Tennessee roots. The next two tracks find Matt further exploring the boundaries of arco technique as he bows nearly every bow-able surface on his bass, delving into rich, haunting overtones and gorgeous textural landscapes. ‘Silence’, the closing track, finds Matt paying homage to the rich tradition of Appalachian music while subverting it in a way that only a denizen of the Smoky Mountains can. It’s simple and sublime and leaves the listener wanting more. This record provides an intimate snapshot of a young musician wrestling with one of the most challenging recording settings possible: double bass versus human being. Matt Nelson’s approach is deeply personal and demonstrates the patience and wisdom of a player far beyond his years. Eschatology is excited to present an early work of this emerging star of the bass avant garde
Photo by Logan White
Matt Nelson is a bassist, improvisor and composer based in Knoxville, TN. Nelson's music focuses heavily on improvisation and composing music in the moment. Crafting his own personal sound using extended techniques, Nelson aims to bring his listeners to an unexpected place where only his raw musicality exists. His purpose is not to distract listeners from the instrument's conventional function, but to expand the breadth of sounds available to communicate his message. Nelson is a very active part of the Knoxville music scene and has spent a significant amount of the last few years touring with various bands from many different genres of music. He curates a regular series in Knoxville where he has opened for/performed with Peter Brotzmann,Tatsuya Nakatani and Rafael Toral.