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Steve Lawson - new-age, post-rock, ambient-jazz, solo-bass... thus reads the strapline on his website. It’s a little tricky to pin down what he does, given that, as those hyphenated descriptions begin to tell us, he’s a solo bassist who spends a lot of his time making very unbasslike noises. He’s an ambient experimenter who likes pop tunes too much to go strictly soundscape, but is way too atmospheric to sit comfortably in the ‘instrumental rock’ category. His electronica leanings produce some amazing hi-tech sounds, but he resolutely avoids programmed beats, making the eventual hybrid of jazz, electronica, ambient, new age and ‘new acoustic’ influences infuriatingly hard to pigeonhole.
It may be a deeply uncommercial move to be so diffuse, but Steve’s entire career has been an ongoing experiment at making the music that means something to him, and then using the internet to make that available to like-minded listeners. 10 albums into his career, there’s a definite ‘Steve Lawson’ sound to just about everything he plays on. Playful yet melancholic, possessed of a naive melodic quality whilst flirting extensively with dissonance and darker timbres to create this soundtrack to the inside of his head.
This ‘music first, marketing later’ approach has lead to him being greatly in demand as a writer, thinker and consultant on the present and possible future of the music industries, splitting his teaching time between University and College lectures on looping, improvising and bass techniques and further lecture tours on the sustainability of making the music you love. He also occasionally writes biographies about himself in the third person.
With the decade-long success of his own on-going project to keep making the music that matters to him, the future looks just fine - 2010 will feature a number of new releases, a host of house concerts, and a flurry of online activity aimed at inviting more people into the music. Enjoy the ride.