Uros Spasojevic – Winter Tales 
I remember this Facebook post from a friend of mine, incidentally a renowned bass player himself, taking fun at how many colleagues consider themselves revolutionary artists just because they added an effect to their basic sound. The hidden text -not so much hidden actually- was that it doesn’t take a tool to make great music. And sometimes tools, used with the purpose of easing life, require so much dedication and effort that cost a life of dedication. The last words are probably a manifesto of what Serbian bassist Uros Spasojevic has accomplished so far in his career. A distinct voice, who digs deeply into the potential of the tools he plays with, redefining the potential of the instrument.
Across the five albums at his name, the last V in collaboration with pianist Bojan Marjanovic, electric bass has expectedly been pivotal, standing at the core of each piece. But it’s probably only now, with Winter Tales, that he brings his vision to an higher level, dedicating the right space to the instrument and sketching new possibilities for bass solo improvisation. Fifteen tracks recorded live in studio, with no overdubs, pedalboard only, that show the level of intimacy and dedication his playing deserves. Occasional looping machines, delay pedals, choruses and a masterful use of the vibrato and the volume knobs contribute to the blissufl and unhindered beauty of his music.
Despite having shown an acquantaince with contemporary jazz and 80s fusion, Spasojevic has progressively directed his craftmanship towards an ECM-like sound. The folkloric arpeggio opening Wind (Island 1) is a remarkful tribute to the artistry of a classical guitarist such as Ralph Towner, in a way none could expect a bass player to. Few slow-moving chords easily create a vivid sketch of intimacy, a trademark of Spasojevic‘s music. As writer Tyran Grillo points in the liner notes, image plays such an important role here that the words by director Andrei Tarkovsikij seems to appear as a perfect reference, more than any other musicians: visual element is a key component in Uros Spasojevic‘s vision of music.
His trademark cadenzas, a mixture of melancholic tenderness and wandering through misty landscapes, are best heard under the rippling tears of Rain (Continuum pt.1). A vintage postcard from a soundtrack theme, filtered through the time passing by. Or whenever there is no apparent theme, like in Tribute, still Spasojevic retains his impressionistic approach through painting landscapes of sparse noises.
The haunting, and heavily synth-processed, theme of the initial track Tremor is the perfect answer on whoever claims a pedarlboard cou deldn’t do so much new nowadays. The sonar-like bass pulses through, while a distant chant -a whale, a dolphin, where is this coming from?- echoes distantly with a mellow, sliding theme. The liquid, elemental mark is very vivid in Sea -would it not be a surprise to discover that this track is an hint to one of Spasojevic‘s most beloved artist, Norwegian pianist Kjetil Bjornstad. A distant voice under water, a struggling mermaid chant that caresses the ears, until turning, as time passes, into a monster-like chant of beautiful deception.
Winter Tales is a reflective, pensive and insightful travel through sonic possibilities that strive for an unusual use of means. Through a set of smart pedals, sparse notes and few themes Spasojevic is capable of creating a world of dreamy mirrors and haunting landscapes.
- Wind (Island I)
- Rain (Continuum pt.1)
- Song for J.B.
- Dream (Continuum pt.2)
- Journey (Island II)
Uros Spasojevic – bass