* 250 copies, hand numbered * On Nils Vermeulen’s first solo album, the sound of the double bass is the main variable. Recorded at the empty Ghent Opera, where every note, attack and vibration comes through, including the creaking of the wooden floor. There is no hiding in reverb, nor in easy playing. The strings Vermeulen uses on this recording (‘Tempera’ strings by Gerold Genssler), are inspired by traditional gut strings, and have lower tension to let the instrument resonate freely.
The pieces on the album, both composed and improvised, explore variations of techniques, proportions, and notes. Often, they depart from or tend to almost mathematical material, countered by Vermeulens highly intuitive playing. Every tone has its acoustic universe, comprised of a multitude of other tones. All possible combinations already exist. The composer merely chooses one variation and organizes the sounds in a particular way.
Nils Vermeulen is a Belgian double bass player active in all varieties of adventurous music. He has played with Paul Lytton, Seppe Gebruers, William Parker, John Dikeman, Luis Vicente, among others. He works across many scenes, from free improv to jazz to contemporary classical music, and in many distinct constellations, such as his own groups Kabas and Jukwaa, a string duo with Elisabeth Klinck, and as a member of the collective Troika and Nemo ensemble. Vermeulen is an artistic researcher, afliated with KASK & Conservatorium Ghent. He investigates the acoustic possibilities of the double bass, focussing mainly on strings, their vibrations, and their impact on the artistic output. He also studied instrument building. With this combined knowledge, he decided to make his own gut strings. Through experimenting with different tensions, thicknesses and tunings, he traces the age-old dialogue between how the material is made, and how it sounds. What emerges when those two interdependent processes – that of making the strings, and playing or composing with them – are bound up in one practitioner?