Fantômes... Futurs

09/11/2022Lo'Jo's Kham Meslien Releases Exploratory Double Bass Solo Album On Heavenly Sweetness

Having grown up in the immediate environment of a 'Kontrabass', this one was born out of a personal interest to see what sounds this particular double bassist would be able to produce. After spending more than a decade as the bassist of French band Lo'Jo, Kham Meslien decided to test the waters and embark on a solo project with an instrument still commonly considered to be more of an accompanying voice. His recently released debut solo album "Fantômes... Futurs" on Heavenly Sweetness goes to show, just how versatile said instrument can be if placed in the right setting, freed from expectations and played by someone with a lucid artistic vision.

Setting out on an exploratory, introspective journey, Kham Meslien produces a world of sound on 10 compositions, mostly instrumental, taking his double bass and listeners to new heights, while placing himself "at the center of a virtual band in which he occupies all positions." Rich, wooden tones and intricate percussions "struck on the wood" resonate with us, shifting agilely, "looped, cadenced," vibrating with depth and candour, occasional bowings replacing the predominant pizzicato, though never veering too far into leftfield. And then the familiar baritone voice of multitalented poet, novelist, musician and lecturer Anthony Joseph steps in, adding to this longplayer's undeniable alchemy.

Blending moods and melodies, we cling to each note, keen to take in each and every moment of this steadily evolving and highly poetic tale. A Bandcamp supporter compared this outing to fellow French jazz double bassist Henri Texier, which also passed our mind. And yet, this stringed expedition into unrestrained jazz and contemporary classical form, arriving some 45 years after Texier's "Varech", follows a dramaturgy that is entirely its own, coming from a place of heart that is, quite simply, genuine artistic expression. Call it a revelation in bass clef. 

You can stream the full album in the player below and also see Kham Meslien perform live at the University of Angers back in 2021. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom