13> Le Temps Perdu 2:26
upright piano, melodica, upright bass, steel string requinto..
14> Dive At Dawn 3:21
Fender Rhodes, Acoustic Bass Guitar, Accordina, Talking Drum, Percussion.
15> El Manzanero 3:12
Inor Sotolongo (Cuba): perussion.
Line Kruse (Danemark): violin.
Pajaro Canzani (Uruguay): Tiple
Daniel Diaz (Argentina): piano, upright bass.
16> El Pasional 3:17
Inor Sotolongo (Cuba): perussion.
Line Kruse (Danemark): violin.
Pajaro Canzani (Uruguay): guitar
Daniel Diaz (Argentina): piano, upright bass.
17> Bagatelle Numero 5.1 2:16
Daniel Diaz: Upright Bass, delays & filters.
Dave Lewis: Flugel Horn.
18> Bagatelle Numero 5.2 2:34
Daniel Diaz: Upright Bass, Piano, delays & filters.
Dave Lewis: Muted trumpet.
19> Bagatelle Numero 5.3 2:44
Daniel Diaz: Bowed upright bass, treated fender rhodes, electronica, delays & filters.
Dave Lewis: Trumpet.
20> Song For Lisa 3:34
acoustic bass.guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, accordina, percussion.
Themes is an album that compiles some music I composed and recorded for different audio-visual projects (theatre, music libraries, documentaries, TV). 20 tracks have been released in 2013.
compositions are instrumental songs, like old-style themes, with chord
changes and melodies.
commissions, some others are compositions I was keeping for an eventual solo
record (that I’ve just started recording, more
here), but instead of reworking them I decided to recoup all these
tracks in this new collection because I really like the actual themes as
they are. No focus on development or performance here (solos, introductions,
codas, improvisation) like I used to do in my albums, I decided to keep the
bare song, in many cases just the melody exposition.
This is another batch of “un-used” songs, jams, covers and leftovers, a companion of my CD “Maquina Dura” released in 2000. After 15 years of recording in my home studio, by 2000, two official albums have been released: 1993 The Years Alone and 1997 Segundo Ciclo.
But so many recordings have been made in my Pleasure Dome Studios during those creative and formative “Years Alone” in Buenos Aires that I decided to put together two collections of leftovers: one electric (Maquina Dura) the other mostly acoustic. Both include leftovers, studio jams and cover versions.
The electric side was easy to put together. It featured tracks that, for artistic and “quality” issues, didn’t make it to the official CD’s track list. But the acoustic CD featured some tracks that couldn’t be considered leftovers. Tracks that were actually in the song list for Segundo Ciclo, recorded during those sessions, but dropped at the last moment because I decided to make a whole acoustic CD immediately after Segundo Ciclo.
“Maquina Blanda” was my live act and it was all-acoustic (acoustic guitar and basses, tabla and small percussion, flutes). The idea was to drop the “Maquina Blanda” songs form Segundo Ciclo and expand them to form a full length CD for a release by 1997-1998. Then I moved to France and that release never happened, so those tracks remained in the vault for 15 years. I was enamoured with those recordings (my very last full analogue-open-reel masters) and decided not to mix them with some “light weight” jams and demos, and save them for an eventual formal release.
In 2005 I reloaded that project, its concept, sound and repertoire for my trio with Javier Estrella and Bobby Rangell. We went to the studio to complete Maquina Blanda (the album) but eventually we made a full length CD with new recordings (including a couple of revamped tracks from The Maquina Blanda project) and that was it.
That’s how some of my favourite recorded songs remained inexplicably unreleased.
Then in 2010 a commission for acoustic recordings got me to work again with Manuel Miranda (full member of the original Maquina Blanda) and the idea of completing that collection was again in my head. I asked him to record two tracks I had written for Maquina Blanda back in 1995 (Patagonia 1 and 2) and a new track in the same style that was an ode to the old neighbourhood where we both used to live, play and hang out in Buenos Aires on during those years: “Viejo Palermo Viejo”. With these three tracks recorded with Manuel in Lima, now the whole project came full circle.
From the original 1996 track list including “Jams, Covers and Leftovers” just one studio jam and two covers remains, all tracks that we had been playing live and considering for release by then. The rest of the informal, spontaneous jams are replaced by formal recordings of acoustic, spare originals.
Now here it is to you (and to me) Maquina Blanda, almost as I intended to be 15 years ago.
1.Solo Piano Uno 03:48 2.Metallic Drone 03:36 3.Duo 1 03:07 4.Drone Mécanique 06:03 5.Bamboo 03:19 6.Jesse al Arco 02:50 7.Duo 2 03:28 8.Tappin Guitars 04:05 9.Solo Piano Dos 04:55 10.Tension 02:08 11.Frantic Prelude 01:53 12.Frantic Techno 03:03 13.Fierros 03:58 14.Solstice 04:16
Total Time 50:35
instruments & objects used:
upright bass (bowed and pizz),
acoustic and electric guitars and basses,
metal trash lid, stainless steel thermos,
and other objects.
fx, processing & treatments:
digital and analogue delays
Musique Mécanique: liner notes
Musique Mécanique is the result of two types of
research I have
been pursuing during the last few years.
First , while working on some “drone” based tracks for another
project, I got tired of the usual synth sustained low note as a drone, and all
the tweaking, processing and morphing required to give some life to those dull
plastic twangs. Being a bassist, it was a natural alternative to pick up my
upright bass and try some bowed sustained notes. How much easier was now to add
life to that! Not just by means of dynamics and playing techniques, but also
manipulating and processing that acoustic “live” sound. So I started building
some basic tracks that I called “organic drones”, they were just drones
performed in acoustic instruments and even objects, noises and sounds, then
processing and morphing those mixed tracks to achieve an original, unreal yet
warm and lively sound. Those organic drones started to get more and more complex
and weird as I kept pushing the limits of my postulate: “Just noises produced by
In the bonus CD of the Special Edition of Musique Mécanique
you’ll find the very first track I recorded for this project using this concept:
“Recitativo”, is one of my complex organic drones going on for more than 8
minutes, mutating and evolving as I just solo on top of it my with my electric
guitar. Some other tracks using this drone techniques made it to the final cut
of Musique Mécanique, most notably “Metallic Drone” and “Drone Mécanique” and
“Solstice”, but glimpses of these methods impregnated the whole project in the
background of each track.
Then I started a second type of research, exploring the
possibilities (and fun) of playing around with delays and echoes. The random
counterpoints, brilliant accidents and unexpected harmonies provided by these
delayed signals (usually with particularly high decay/feedback times) proved to
be quite addictive, and it took the best part of the album, its bonus tracks and
extended to many other projects like “lärmkunst”. The bonus CD includes some
compositions I recorded for other projects using the very same “Delays
The culmination of this echo-drenched research and the idea of
using delays as a composition technique, ended up in a collection called
“Auto-Counterpoints”, but that will be a different project, as those tracks are
more focused, rigorously planned, standard compositions.
Musique Mécanique shows the research process, its unexpected
results and delightful accidents. In a way this is the ultimate ”experimental”
album for me: a recording of my experimentations with sound and composition, a
pure “research” project, where I found the charm of starting a track without
knowing exactly where it would lead me, without any plot or plan. Then, in post
production the composition process continued, giving these recordings a more
coherent, achieved structure and sound.
Hopefully some of you will appreciate the results of this process
that took 2 years of passionate work. Thanks for making it happen, thanks for
No synths used, no drums, no percussion, no guitars, just basses.
An album of original compositions recorded by Argentinian bassist/composer Daniel Diaz in Paris, France between 2005 and 2007, performed exclusively on seven different acoustic and electric Basses. The CD features both Solo bass pieces and orchestrated multi-track tunes, with basses performing bass parts AND guitar, keyboards, percussion parts et all.
This bass extravaganza is the result of Daniel Diaz’s 25 years performing and composing as a bassist all around the world, and it’s interesting listening for any bass player.
All noises produced and recorded by D.D. at The Pleasure Dome, Paris, during 2005-2007. Cover art by Sergio Pittaluga.
Instruments used: Schecter “62 Jazz Bass” 4 string (w/black nylon strings) Custom made Sekine Fretless Bass 4 strings. Riverhead “Low” 4 string Bass tuned B/E/A/D with “floppy” strings. Steinberger 5 string bass tuned E/A/D/G/C L’arrivée Acoustic 5 string acoustic bass guitar tuned E/A/D/G/C. Michael Kelly Dragonfly 5 string acoustic bass guitar tuned E/A/D/G/C. 1900 Argentinean Contrabass. Street sounds used as background noise and rhythmic loop on “La Baja”. D.D.’s voice used to construct drum loop on “Sans Apostrophe”.
As a composer and recording artist who is mostly a bass player, a solo bass recording might seem to be a logical step in my career. But it took me 25 years and 6 albums as a solo artist/composer to finally dare to release such a project. And in the end, this is not exactly a “Solo Bass Record”.
This is an album of music performed exclusively on Basses.
During pre-production, in what would become my first solo output (1993 The Years Alone), I decided to avoid the temptation of releasing a truly “bassist” album. Instead, as many fellow bass players have done, decided to concentrate my first solo statement on my composer-arranger-multi-instrumentalist goals rather than taking the more “risky” (critic-wise) virtuoso solo playing approach.
This was a wise decision, because by that time (in a world “after Jaco”) the standard in the art of bass solos was already extremely high.
So I kept this low-key attitude (no bass pyrotechnics) throughout my whole career, until my last LP, 2005 Lugar Comun. Even if that trio CD was actually a tour de force for any bass player (trying to keep groove and harmonic/comping roles in an acoustic bass) the main focus was on the songs and overall sound. Actually there are no bass solos in the whole album (other than the 1 minute unaccompanied intro to Luiza).
Through the years I kept exploring the possibilities of the solo bass playing especially after moving to France and adapting to a “life without a piano” for the first time in my composer’s life. These solo-bass excursions are briefly represented in my recorded work (Interlude N°1 in “Maquina Dura” and Dos Oceanos in “Maquina Blanda”). Solo bass playing has always been my own private pleasure, be it studying, composing or just relaxing at home, and my little Steinberger bass was my travel companion around the world, so I ended up playing solo bass quite a lot.
Eventually the time seemed right to make a CD, just me and my bass (basses), by the end of 2005: after touring Lugar Comun’s technically demanding repertory and after many years of exploring my current set-up of 7 different basses and many custom built pedals, I decided to give it a go with this little self-indulgent solo bass festival.
Now: the original approach that allowed me to make a full length CD without the monotony of the unaccompanied solo bass formula was to think about some tracks as standard compositions with different instruments playing each part. Then I arranged/orchestrated them using just my basses. To achieve a full sounding orchestration, different instrument combinations, effects, and special techniques (prominently the volume pedal and the artificial harmonics technique I’m so proud of!) were used.
This “orchestrated” approach was used on the most traditional compositions like Vals Polaco, Zamba Del Bajo and La Baja.
To explore the sonic possibilities and frequencies blend of my different basses (believe me, is not easy to build a clear-sounding 16 track master using just low end) some preliminary “sonic etudes” were put together, just to test the better sounding combinations (Fx/Instrumet/playing-technique/Preamps, etc). Some of these Ad Lib multi-track improvisations were mixed and included in the final cut as “Abstract” episodes (Abstract 1,2, &3).
On the other hand, I did dare to perform many pieces in a more traditional “unaccompanied solo bass” format. But instead of the more obvious virtuoso-showing-off approach, I decided to adapt to the bass some of my compositions and just play the songs solo, using the bass almost as a Baritone Guitar. The songs that made it to the final track-list are mostly performed with my Acoustic Bass, with just one song using the electric (Sans Apostrophe) and one with the Upright Bass (Interlude #2).
I also tried some more adventurous sounding solo performances using various real-time effects (pedals) as well. As with the arranged “abstract” pieces, I recorded some free improvisations on both acoustic and electric solo bass, just to get new spontaneous ideas of directions and sounds I could use for the solo bass tunes on the LP.
A couple of these improvisations were included in the final cut of LOW vol1: those are Impromptu #1. Both pieces are free form, absolutely improvised “live” performances. The more “orchestrated” sound on Impromptu#2 was achieved using two different preamps feeding two tracks in my multi-track recorder, one with a huge delay effect, and the other with distortion, wah-wah and filter pedals, and using an A/B foot switch to change from one to the other in real time, so I could play live with channel 2 above a long delayed chord just played in channel 1.
One brief exception to the main rule (JUST BASS!) is the use of my voice to record a drumbeat to play over in Sans Apostrophe. I used to practice this song singing that simple groove to myself while playing, so it made sense and was fun to record it that way. I sang the kick&snare part, and then overdubbed the hi-hat pattern, and then I played the Solo Bass song over that.
The second exception is the use of a field recording to bring some street ambience as a background track for La Baja. The recording I used, taken in the street with a tiny microphone attached to my pocket while strolling around Paris, included some breath noise I made that provided quite a rhythmical pattern that goes very well with the chacarera rhythm of La Baja.
The rest is nothing but Basses, absolutely.
Hope this record sounds interesting for fellow bass players AND other music lovers around.
1. Zamba 4 by daniel díaz (zamba en cuatro) 2. Chacabas by daniel díaz (chacarera trunca) 3. Lluvias Costeras by daniel díaz (tango ballad) 4. Milonga Donata by daniel díaz (milonga) 5. Luiza by antonio carlos jobim (vals) 6. Rosa…Rosa by sandro & oscar anderle (milonga) 7. Candombe p’al Beto by daniel díaz (candombe) 8. Bebê by hermeto pascoal (milongon/samba) 9. Pop (Lugar Comun) by daniel díaz (popballad) 10. Get Out Of Town by cole porter (bossa) 11. Calcarea by daniel díaz (ballad) 12. And I Love Her by lennon & mccartney (bolero)