Bass Trap is just what it says, a trap, playing bass. An instrumental that showed up on B sides of The Unforgettable Fire single, and for some reason there’s a “Best Of” version on the 1980-1990 B sides. By best of they mean they removed about two minutes of it. If you’re going to listen to one, listen to that one, you’ll hear exactly the same as you would if you listened to the longer version, but you’ll save two minutes of your life. This music would be well-suited to an elevator or a hotel lobby.
Edge says (in The Unforgettable Fire box set that was released in 2009) that they looped a bit of bass, then he and Daniel Lanois played over it. So this ends up being another piece that was influenced by one of the two guys, Lanois or Brian Eno. They recorded so much stuff with U2, or guided them into what to write, that they really are pseudo-members of the band. I’ve never really listened to them by themselves, I wonder what their own music is like? I gave my wife a Daniel Lanois CD, Acadie, because that’s where her family originates from, but I don’t think she’s ever listened to it.
I don’t mind U2 releasing the extended or deluxe versions of albums, they can be very interesting. Listening to some of the stuff that got rejected for an album is often illuminating, when you hear something like Lady With The Spinning Head and see everything that spun out of that one song. Alternatively you hear things that are similar to what made it onto the album, too similar to include as well. And you hear things that didn’t quite get completed in this album, but might have gotten onto another album in the future, the proto-songs if you will. This is all good stuff.
It’s when you get something like Bass Trap, which was apparently included on the original Unforgettable Fire single just to fill in some space on the record. In fact looking at the variants of that single, it’s almost clear that this is exactly why Bass Trap was included, because they went up to a 7 inch record and that’s when it got added, so obviously they didn’t want a big blank space on the record. They threw this song on instead of something interesting. I don’t know if it’s because I much prefer music with lyrics (I’m not a big symphony fan either), but this isn’t worth listening to.
The problem of course is that the space on the record needs to be filled somehow, and if you haven’t recorded anything else, or if the other stuff you have is either good enough to keep for a later date, or bad enough that Bass Trap is better, then maybe it’s the right choice. I’ve never been in a band, but I always assumed they were in the studio recording a bunch of songs, then picking the best and most appropriate for the album. Apparently that’s not true, they really are just trying to get their dozen or so done before closing up shop. There may be others or parts of others left hanging around, but once they get to the magic number they need, the rest of it goes by the wayside.
Anyway, don’t listen to this. Or do, once, just to confirm I’m not missing a gem. Or because you’re in an elevator.
My rating for Bass Trap: 1 / 10