Martina Berther

Bass Works: As I Venture Into

Kit • 2024

Swiss bassist and composer Martina Berther is known as one half of the punk duo Ester Poly, bassist in the jazz trio Aul and touring musician for Sophie Hunger. But that’s not enough for the 40-year-old. With her debut solo album »Bass Works: As I Venture Into«, she pushes the boundaries of her instrument and beyond. And solo album can be taken literally in this case. It’s just Martina Berther and her Fender Jazz Bass, whose sound she manipulates with all sorts of strange utensils—a cymbal, a bow, a sponge, a brush. As a result, the bass on this album rarely sounds like a bass, but sometimes like a wild Moog synthesizer or a tenor saxophone through a distortion pedal.

Each of the twelve soundscapes on the album can be attributed to a different musical genre, ranging from ambient-like studies to complete abstraction (»Sprinkler«). There’s the gentle drone, tribal-infused minimal music and echoes of the cosmic music of the Berlin School. The names of kindred spirits such as Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Conrad Schnitzler, La Monte Young or her Swiss compatriot Martina Lussi come to mind. Martina Berther recorded the tracks in one take, without editing or overdubs, in the grey area between composition and improvisation.