Bass Clef

Bass Clef is the primary handle for the marauding musical runnings of Ralph Cumbers, the producer, trombone player, DJ and modular synth manipulator (as Some Truths).


Whilst calling Hackney, UK his current home, he has long since broken through the earthly atmosphere with his itinerant, style-and-pattern approach to electronic music.

With four full-lengths and innumerable EPs, single cuts and remixes to his name, Bass Clef releases nowadays come in clusters, forming unexpected but very much desired constellations: recent times have seen a score of fresh portals opening up through which to access Cumbers’ constructs in space and time: the past few years have seen on-point output for PAN, ALTER, We Can Elude Control, Mordant, Iberian Recordings, his conduit for releasing works both personal and from sonically sympathetic peers. A flurry of further releases being primed on Trilogy Tapes, Happy Skull and Idle Hands for early doors 2018.

Generally a solo concern (albeit always partial to collaborations with the likes of Heatsick, Ekoplekz and Pinch), Bass Clef live sets at present find him in peaktime technoid carnival mode, rugged 808s and fuzzy Detroit rushes meshing with irresistible whistle-crew rave gestures, globe-munching percussive flourishes and cosmic trombone undertows. Alter-ego Some Truths is the science bit, and every bit as essential: a stripped-down, on-the-fly field trip into deep melodic pools of modular synth patchwerk. Ralph’s range and flair as a DJ is reflected in the sprawling breadth of dancefloors he has blitzed over the past decade and beyond, as likely to twirl a curveball as a mirrorball but always making maximum sense whether dub, African, house, soca, jungle or heady electronics be the theme. Meanwhile Ralph’s popular monthly NTS show Open Hand Real Flames bends the online airwaves in new shapes, with live Jorge Luis Borges recitals even getting blended in amidst the typically open-bordered sound palette. And then, yet further beyond, there’s Oscilanz, his unfettered, unflinching three-way improv democracy with legendary This Heat drummer Charles Hayward and medieval wind/string channeller Laura Cannell: evidence that the outer limits are as within Bass Clef’s reach as the lasers.

'There is so much soul – such vehement chutzpah – buried with Reeling Skullways that it’s difficult to view it as anything other than an unmitigated triumph…one of the strongest and most fully realised LPs to emerge from the bass spectrum this past half-decade' — THE QUIETUS

'As timeless as the Chicago canon that inspired it' — THE WIRE

'Feels like a man/machine hybrid at its most powerful…Easily one of the stand-out albums of the year as far as bass whatever is concerned' — PLAYGROUND

'Bass Clef shows that you can have an abundance of thought behind what you do, and still deliver something that hooks into the listener’s neo-cortex and won’t let go until he or she is shaking ass under the strobes' — THE LIMINAL


Joe Hatt