Gina Birch - I Play My Bass Loud Music Album Reviews

Gina Birch - I Play My Bass Loud Music Album Reviews
The debut solo album from the Raincoats bassist is adventurous and collaborative and vibrant and furious.

Gina Birch is frustrated with her friends, fuming at the neighbors, and spiteful of the in-crowd—but she saves her deepest and most abiding rage for the patriarchy. Birch unwittingly became a feminist icon in 1977 when she formed the Raincoats, a groundbreaking post-punk band who influenced Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, and the larger riot grrrl movement. Only when violinist Vicky Aspinall joined the group did Birch and co-founder Ana da Silva realize their project’s political power. “Vicky said, ‘You may not call yourselves feminists but what you’re doing is a feminist act. You’re doing, rather than being done to,’” Birch remembers. In a career spanning over four decades, Birch embraced this philosophy in an unending torrent of creativity as a musician, film director, and painter. I Play My Bass Loud, her debut solo album at age 67, is both a celebration of her status as a godmother of feminist rock and a furious protest against the persecution of women.

The album’s cover is a self-portrait of Birch from an art school Super 8 film in which she screamed directly into the camera lens for three minutes. She carried that spirit of dissent through her work in the Raincoats, the Hangovers, and the Gluts, but rarely has she been so forthcoming about the source of her indignation. “When you ask me if I’m a feminist/I say to hell with powerlessness, to hell with loneliness/Damn all those people putting women down,” she sings on the anthemic single “Feminist Song.” For all her outrage, Birch is aware of her role as a mentor to a younger generation of activists. On “Pussy Riot,” her tribute to the Russian collective, she reminds us, “We have to remember freedom’s not a given/It’s something to fight for every day/We have to remember it’s our duty to fight for those who’re still in chains.”

Birch kept the files for the songs that would become I Play My Bass Loud on her computer for years, occasionally adding vocal lines like an ongoing audio diary. The effect is of a conversation with herself: whispering, howling, dictating, and declaiming, sometimes repeating herself and sometimes adding commentary. Her voice doubles and triples and pans across the stereo field. “I Will Never Wear Stilettos,” a song that is as much about the threat of violence as it is about fashion, features a running monologue about footwear. “I’m not saying the city is a warzone/But can you run in them?” she asks and then answers herself with a list of shoes that are comfortable (and safe) for the streets. On “Big Mouth,” a witty reproof of gossip, Birch autotunes her voice high and low to turn herself into a whole group of feuding friends.

Despite its long, solitary genesis, I Play My Bass Loud is anything but a lonely bedroom-pop album. Birch recruited a host of collaborators to expand the palette, including Thurston Moore, whose feedback-drenched guitar animates the ’90s alt-rock jam “Wish I Was You,” and da Silva, whose monotron lends “Feminist Song” a spacy ambience. The producer Youth helped Birch find the final form for tracks like “I Am Rage,” a slow burner a la Jesus and Mary Chain that began as a spoken word piece.

For all its adventurousness, I Play My Bass Loud is fundamentally a bass album. Birch chose her instrument in the Raincoats because it seemed easier than guitar or drums, but she grew to love how the low end takes up space in genres like dub reggae. On this record, she calls attention to how women players have used the instrument to make space for themselves in rock music. The rollicking, feel-good title track features four women bassists—Shanne Bradley, Emily Elhaj, Helen McCookerybook, and Jane Crockford—in addition to Birch herself. On an album about oppression and injustice, the song is a welcome reminder of how art can change individual lives, if not the world. “Sometimes I wake up and I wonder, what is my job?” she asks. Her answer joyfully affirms their collective freedom as artists and as women: “I play my bass loud!”
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Gina Birch - I Play My Bass Loud Music Album Reviews Gina Birch - I Play My Bass Loud Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 15, 2023 Rating: 5


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