I’m not aware of too many artists advertising themselves as a “solo bassist”. However, Daniel James Brown is one such example and he records under the similarly original name of A Ninja Slob Drew Me. Don’t let these ominous signs put you off too much though as ‘One Week In Sand’ is far more than one man’s quest to make the eight-string bass sexy.
The signs are promising from the beginning thanks to the optimistic echo-laden melodies of ‘Withering Trash Receptacle’ and ‘Nest’. Brown frequently drifts into ambient waters and usually with splendid effects. He is also only too keen to diversify. The folky ‘Deleted Water’ is improved by a strained vocal from ‘RC’ and ‘Miu’ enters post-rock territory with some ferocious percussion adding to the sugar rush of euphoria and the crushing weight of despair. There’s also a very presentable jazz piece called ‘That Was A Brand New Hat’ which really swings.
Events go a bit wayward the more adventurous Brown gets, resulting in the horrible ‘Tired_Staff’. Perhaps it is a homage to Mike Oldfield’s ‘Piltdown Man’ character for his ‘Tubular Bells’ opus but either way it’s ugly. Furthermore, the idea of A.R. Kane going drum and bass may sound exciting but the results on ‘Student Gene Pool’ don’t quite deliver and then the track deviates into a blurred voice recording and radio interference. All this indulgence should be forgiven though when the penultimate track ‘Time Lost Part 2’ is heard; a spare and beautiful instrumental.
‘One Week In Sand’ is so all over the place stylistically that it’s hard to remember that this is the work of one artist and a bass player at that. Yet the eclecticism usually bears fruit and this is why artists should stay independent, to pursue their own creative ideas without worrying about record company overheads.