Due to its relatively young age, the bass guitar is still growing both physically and sonically. The instrument has long been treated with mistrust and even contempt in more traditional jazz circles where it is seen as a poor substitute for its larger, older brother. This makes ECM’s first release of a solo bass guitar album all the more welcome. [..] Much of the compositional material is built around mournful arpeggiated chords. The appeal of the music is how Meyer goes on to manipulate these foundations and how the glacial changes in texture draw the listener in to a state of relaxation. The chord structures draw influence from the dark ambient and post rock genres. The problem with chords on the bass guitar is that they can sound too dense. However, the bass is beautifully recorded with great clarity between the notes. […] Meyer has taken a unique approach to composition for solo bass guitar. It is one that will move the instrument forward as much as it will move the listener emotionally.
John Marley, Jazz Views
What wonderful surprises the ECM label can offer up with hitherto unrecognised musicians who offer atmospheric recordings of great depth and beauty. This is one such example from Swedish bassist Björn Meyer on this intoxicating all original set. Meyer has collaborated with Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem and Persian harpist/singer Asita Hamidi and is a long-time member of the Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin band, but this solo debut is all about generating sounds on the bass. It is the hypnotic beauty of the sounds generated that impressed this writer most and the evident virtuosity is backed up by a musical mind that communicates his love of roots music across the globe.
Tim Stenhouse, UK Vibe
Was Björn Meyer für seinen E-Bass entdeckt, ist nichts Minderes als die andere, die zweite Seite der Elektrizität. Er mikroskopiert klangfarbliche Details. Es ist im Grunde nicht anders als seinerzeit bei Billie Holiday: Das Mikrofon erlaubte eine nie gekannte Intensität. Gerade diese Seite intimer Konfessionen macht auch ‚Provenance‘ aus.
Christoph Merki, Tagesanzeiger
Meyers aus intuitiven Notizen entwickelte Kompositionen formen sich tatsächlich zu Songs, die unerwartet neue Wege gehen. Ja, das ist wenig Jazz, und es ist auch nicht verkehrt, wenn man sich hier an Formen des sog. ‚Postrock‘ oder an Ambient erinnert fühlt; ‚Provenance‘ ist Musik wie Atmen. […] Björn Meyer ist ein vielseitiger Klangpoet, der seine Erfahrungen in multinationalen Gruppen um Anouar Brahem und Asita Hamidi in aufs Wesentliche reduzierte musikalische Bilder überführt und damit einen reichlich persönlichen Kosmos eröffnet.
Ingo J. Biermann, Nordische Musik
With just one guitar, four strings, and a fretboard, ‘Provenance’ demonstrates that melodic high-jiinks and emotional intensity aren’t just for those who inhabit the treble stave. Meyer’s bass sings. […] Crucial to the clean sound is the studio space itself. Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano creates an acoustic playground in which the electric bass, unfiltered, can soar and liberate itself. Meyer himself describes the room as ‘the second member’ of this solo project. […] Layer after thin layer of thin musical lacquer building into a glorious, shinning finish, but you don’t feel or sense progression. This is not an album to listen while driving or in company. Simply sit, listen and absorb.
Rob Mallows, London Jazz News
He favours gentle dynamics and off-centre registral choices and also regards room acoustics as being important to his sound, so his music, subtle yet richly engaging, is genuinely ambient.
Roger Thomas, BBC Music Magazine
Underrated: Playing like an atmospheric exploration of the reach of an electric guitar, this solo release from a longtime member of Nik Bärtsch's jazz-rock ensemble Ronin instead testifies to broad capabilities of its sibling the bass. Using a six-string instrument and a bank of electronics, this Swedish-born artist is just as adept conjuring a latticework of notes and echo on the album’s title track, or a rattling sort of funk on ‘Squizzle’ that recalls the more driving ventures by more stripped-down guitarists such as Leo Kottke.
Chris Barton, L.A. Times
Playing both electric and acoustic bass guitar, Meyer augments the sound with the light use of electronics. The effects of the latter are most evident on the opening piece ‘Aldebaran’ and ‘Squizzle.’ […] The electronic element is more subtle throughout the remaining ten tracks. ‘Banyan Waltz’ and ‘Garden Of Silence’ are constructed around somber broken chords and beautifully expressive melodies. Meyer moves beyond tranquility with more powerful cadences the tracks ‘Three Thirteen’ and ‘Squizzle.’ […] The album is often stunningly beautiful; bittersweet tones and deeply affecting melodies brought to life with Meyer's unique guitar-like use of the bass. Highly recommended.
Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz