JOHN SPOKUS | BALTIMORE, MARYLAND United States | 04/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mick Karn, formerly of the British New Wave/Progressive band Japan, IS my main inspiration when it comes to playing fretless bass, but he's much more than just a bass player. Titles showcases Karn as a great avante-rock composer and multi-instrumentalist. He has a distinct Middle Eastern feel to his music which comes from his early upbringing; he was born in Cypress.Primarily an instrumental album, with some guest vocals, including an appearance by ex-Japan bandmate David Sylvian, Titles is a challenging work with both atmospherics and depth from a very creative and talented musical mind. I would love to see this guy hook up with Robert Fripp for an incarnation of King Crimson."
Root, fifth, root, fifth. Not!
Victor Eijkhout | Knoxville, TN USA | 01/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a bass player I've caught flak from people who expect a bass to play root notes, maybe an occasional fifth. I think those folks would have a heart attack from this album. The bass here does much more than playing support. The instrumental tracks ("the A side") have the bass as a melody instrument, using such weirdness as ocarinas to play backup. The vocal tracks ("B side") have the bass in a more traditional role, riffing and grooving in the low frequencies. Still, Mick Karn doesn't exactly play root notes. In fact, apart from the drum, his bass playing is often the sole accompaniment.
And what bass playing! Karn has a beautiful singing tone, and a creativity that is unmatched. Nothing he plays is like anything any other fretless bassist produces. It feels like he makes up every note from scratch, never relying on precedent.
You can have plenty of quibbles with this album (the song writing is not that stellar), but every bass player needs to absorb this album, to know that this is one of the ways a bass can be played."