Wendy Atkinson is a solo bass-player who explores the low-end world of electric, acoustic and double basses.
On January 21, 2022, Shrimper Records released I Knew I was a Rebel Then, the new album by Horde of Two (Atkinson and David Lester of Mecca Normal). This album is a collaboration that captures their musical dynamic, an alchemy of David Lester’s raw, energetic guitar and Wendy Atkinson’s melodic bass.
The centrepiece of the album is the 20-minute “Durruti: A Life in 8 Parts.” As the world increasingly lurches towards tyranny, David responded by creating a musical sketch based on the life of anti-fascist Spanish rebel Durruti. From its pulsing power pop beginnings it swerves through melancholy soundscapes to end on optimistic bursts of distorted guitar.
The CD is accompanied by a chapbook from Bamboo Dart Press, which contains two intertwined stories on the nature of triumph, defeat and legacy.
Atkinson’s “I Love this Town” was selected for the forthcoming compilation CD celebrating 10 years of Constantine Katsiris’ Quiet City Concert series.
Atkinson was selected by the MAC Project to create a piece in honour of Pauline Oliveros. Her piece, “Thrum and Clatter” uses Oliveros’ concept of Deep Listening to explore the sounds of Vancouver’s waterfront. The piece debuted at an event organized by Vancouver’s Co-op Radio on Jan 10, 2018
The Last Fret, her third bass album, includes ebow, toy piano, field recordings and prepared bass. Guitar, on three tracks, is by David Lester of Mecca Normal. The songs range from ambient, textured pieces to rhythmic or poppy instrumentals to spoken word but, always, bass is the core.
As with her previous albums, Atkinson recorded and mixed all of the songs on The Last Fret.
The song “Clips” was created for a performance that was advertised as containing prepared bass. Since Atkinson had never written a prepared bass piece before, she wrote “Clips” for that performance. The repeating rhythmic bass line was created by attaching large paper clips to the bass strings.
“What Came Before” highlights the sensuous swirling beauty of ambient bass tones while “New Too” offsets those bass tones with the abrasive growl of ebow.
Three pieces include spoken word. “Hebron Birds” was written in response to a trip to the West Bank and a surprise encounter with a group of young girls. Their trust and curiosity in a stranger prompted Atkinson to create this song, which incorporates a field recording of their voices. The album also includes Atkinson’s first cover song: Chain and the Gang’s “What is a Dollar?” and the humorous Ukulele Shock.
Preparing for a show with Jandek, by playing along to his YouTube videos, led to the very unJandek-like “Play Along.” Experimenting with a Value Village kid’s electronic keyboard resulted in “16 Hours of Daylight.”
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