06 October 2021


I can understand a bassist taking up another instrument.  Bass is so dependent on others; it's essential and powerful and a great provider of gigs, but supportive.  So we hear Cameron Undy, one of our excellent bassists out of Canberra now Sydney, doing a solo gig on guitar.  Another thing bass gives you is a sense of groove, rhythm, and this is greatly evident here.  Chords fairly simple, but an underlying African groove that defines the outing.  Cameron played through series of tunes.  I heard chordal plays, varying time signatures, moving accents and chords, sometimes complex, other times sitting on one or two chord vamps, perhaps with interposed beats, slow up to a new tune, in three, and so on.  Simple, inviting, meditative, unpretentious.  That's another aspect of the bass: it promotes unpretentiousness.  A lovely, honest outing.  But hearing his chat later, about post-grad studies of African music, of how African music is the earliest known source of music and how it's evident in so many cultures, esp. modern American, jazz, funk, soul, reggae, blues.  About the percussive, muted tones and diverse resonance and the instruments like marimba and mbira.  Then further on composition, the influence of maths and numbers and Buckminster Fuller and how he uses processes to make music, perhaps numbers and patterns, not needing to await that romantic inspiration.  How he'd done this with electronics, but returned to analog instruments after chats with Simon Barker.  All fascinating and revelatory.  How he writes in graphs, even.  More to explore here.  Given lighting, this was prerecorded, in a simple, ageing backyard with a pizza oven where he often plays with children and dog and guitar.  So a concert and chat both aurally satisfying and intellectually intriguing.  How I like it.  PS and FWIW, he played a short scale Marand acoustic guitar.

Cameron Undy (guitar) played in his backyard for the Earshift Festival

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