Thursday, March 25, 2010

U2's bass meets Phillip Glass and is trapped by Celts at at 11

In an installment of
the "Like a Song" series at, Sherry Lawrence reflects on a U2 B-side song that you likely have not heard: "Bass Trap."

The lyrics are amazing.

By that, I mean.......
It's an instrumental...but lyrical.
Palpable, maybe.

(Sometimes the only thing better than a one-word U2 song is a no-word U2 song that says a lot..

Sometimes silent singing is the equivalent of Bongolese)..

To me, the song itself theologically and sonically evokes/ incarnates the meaning of the title.
(Sherry also makes a connection here).

The Edge remembers the recording:

"Brian [Eno] used this really cheap electric harmonics trap a bass figure that Adam had played...It was sort of like what Phillip Glass does with his work. You start with a very simple sequence of notes which keeps repeating, then you work other melodies on top of it. It can be quite effective."

Sherry's post is a great read (read it here)
Soundtrack it with the great song itself (play both versions below..Sherry comments comments on the delightful connection to "Unknown Caller" and it's 3:33a.m./Jeremiah 33: 3) reference..

I am a sucker for ethereal instrumentals. Some have called this U2's "other" Celtic song..
and Sherry's comments call to mind a Celtic spirituality:

...Life is about ebbs and flows, much like "Bass Trap" as the musical layers build and fade. There's also a playfulness within the song that teases you into thinking the melody is going one way but it doesn't. I enjoy the ability to get caught up in it on so many different levels, and depending on the day, I can take something different out of the song. For a "throwaway b-side," the listener can absorb so much. Come to think of it, bass traps are indeed low frequency sound absorbers.
As with everything else in life, the song ends and the headphones have to come off as there are things to tend to.
. By this point, my son's realized that the couch isn't tall enough to handle his ability to leap tall things, my daughter's dropped her milk bottle, and what's spilled on the floor isn't worth crying over. The phone rings again and suddenly those hands are back on the clock face ticking away as the bang and the clatter of the day gets cranked up to 11. Life begins moving again at breakneck speed and I'm once again that overachieving mom who tries to do it all. Tomorrow, I get my "Bass Trap" break and I get to forget about it all over again -- even if it is only for 3:33.
© @U2/Lawrence, 2010.
How Celtic is that?

3:33 version:

5:17 minute version:

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