|Desert Heat — Cat Mask at Huggie Temple (2013)|
Desert Heat — Cat Mask at Huggie Temple
• • 350 Pressed / Runs at 45rpm!
Location: Landsdowne, PA ~ Brooklyn, New York ~ Dublin, Ireland
Album release: October 9, 2013
Record Label: MIE Music/Thrill Jockey (MIE-020 — 2013)
1. Cat Mask at Huggie Temple 12:06
2. Chimay Blues 15:27
Desert Heat is Steve Gunn, John Truscinski, and Cian Nugent
• Import LP limited to only 350 copies
• “The outcome of a collective trudge across the European/American desert for 40 days and 40 nights.”
• Cat Mask at Huggie Temple is the superb debut 12” by Desert Heat, a dust bowl rock trio of Steve Gunn, John Truscinski and Cian Nugent. The trio originally came together when they played a bowling alley followed by an appearance at Tusk Festival in Newcastle, UK where the trio jammed together like they had been a band for years. • Part of the group's success hinges on John and Steve's rapport, honed through their releases as the Gunn-Truscinski Duo. The pair mix touches of folk, psych, raga, and rock into hypnotic pieces that straddle the line between improvisation and songcraft over two excellent albums released on Three Lobed Recordings. Cian Nugent, the prodigal Irish acoustic guitarist joins the duo as Desert Heat bringing his amalgam of suburban/coastal blues, 1960s & ’70s singer-songwriters, psychedelia, 20th century composition and the Takoma school stylings into the mix.
• The 12” consists of two long and sprawling tracks, ‘Cat Mask at Huggie Temple’ and ‘Chimay Blues’. The former drops you straight in the never ending interplay between Cian and Steve who weave in and out of the beats that John lays down. The guitar exchanges build up to a climatic boogie jamfest. ‘Chimay Blues’ starts of as a slow deconstructed raga before moving into a hypnotic groove building up to a crescendo before it passes you by and drifts of on the open highway. Semi-improvised yet impossibly tight, Desert Heat can only embody the flickering mirage on the open road under the fading heat of the evening sun." — MIE Music © Steve Gunn (Photo credit: Simon Krane)
Steve Gunn performs at the Capitol Hill Block Party. 26.07.2013
Ian Maleney | August 19th, 2013 08:03
• The first time I listened to Cat Mask At Huggie Temple I was sitting on a deckchair under the full, five-fingered leaves of a sycamore tree in my parents' back garden, watching our cat hunt her tiny prey through the grass. It was downright hot and the smell of the yellowing hay in the fields around us blew fresh on a perfect summer breeze. It was a scene more Californian than anyone would have a right to expect from rural Irish bog-land but it was the middle of summer and we were all making the most if it. It was, in short, the perfect time to listen to Cat Mask At Huggie Temple.
• When Steve Gunn and John Truscinski released Ocean Parkway last year (http://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/steve-gunn-john-truscinski-duo-ocean-parkway), their second collaborative album, NPR critic Lars Gotrich described the sound as one that “takes in the expanse of the American open road with the hypnotic thudding groove of rubber hitting cement.” The feeling of the endless highway, the great routes of possibility crossing the epic American continent, were somehow central to the music. Gunn's guitar playing echoed everyone from the Grateful Dead to John Fahey and Sun Ra — basically anyone with a loose and flowing sense for cosmic jamming. Truscinski's drumming takes in those sounds too but comes from a distinctly jazzier base, all splashy cymbals, well-placed snares and soft, tumbling rolls bridging the gaps between phrases.
• With the addition of Irish guitarist Cian Nugent* on second guitar, the Gunn-Truscinski Duo becomes Desert Heat. Beyond the name, not a huge amount has changed. Nugent slips into the duos stream with ease, becoming practically indistinguishable from Gunn at certain points. As the title track slows to its low, winding end, the guitars play themselves out through a series of intertwined descending scales. • The question of who is playing what never enters the mind. It’s a suitable ending for a track that never quite lifts off in the way you might expect, remaining instead quite restrained through its 12-minute running time. The jam is loose, for sure, but it never seeks to blow its load on some crazy crescendo or storm of noise. The balance between all three instruments is key with no one shooting off alone and half-cocked. Truscinki’s drumming is too subtle, too rolling to drive the music in such a direction, forcing the guitarists to be as detailed and textured as he is.
• When 'Chimay Blues' came on in my headphones that first time, I was staring straight up into the canopy of leaves above my head. It starts in contemplative mood, just some barely-there guitar slowly joined by the ominous, distant thud of a snare with the snares off and gentle tom work. The leaves were a hundred healthy shades of green and a battered wooden wind-chime hung from the branches, silently waiting for a stronger breeze to shake it into life. The vaguely Eastern sounding modal scales of the guitars grow more complex and begin to merge as Truscinski finds his groove, almost half way through the track. Suddenly, as out of nowhere, there is movement and we are going forward. For the rest of the track the trio stay on that one breeze, backwards and forward through the leaves, the guitars climbing and falling around each other. Truscinksi keeps a straight beat running through the final five minutes, gradually fading it out to nothing again before anyone has time to get tired of it.
• It’s hard to know what to call Cat Mask at Huggie Temple, because it isn’t an album. • It’s a two-track 12″, a format more familiar for club bangers than exploratory guitar jammers. Its economy is a strong-point though. At 25 minutes, you don’t feel at all exhausted and there’s a sense the players aren’t either. It’s just two ideas pitched up on the spot, stretched out and viewed from every angle. While the Gunn-Truscinski Duo have enough experience playing together to be able to maintain their focus over a full-length, the addition of Nugent means there’s a new personality in the mix and, as such, things haven’t quite gelled fully yet. Cat Mask sounds like its origins, a tour record; thrilling, ephemeral and fleeting. It delivers an exciting ride but, importantly, it suggests there’s much more to come.
*Notes: Cian Nugent is a guitar player and composer from Dublin, Ireland who combines personal passions, such as squicky pre-war blues, traditional musics, late 1960s & ’70s singer-songwriters, jazz ambitions, modern composition and the Takoma school into a deeply personal style. His music boasts an orchestrated and fully instrumented sound that is playful and eerie at the same time.
• Steve Gunn is a New York-based guitarist and songwriter. With a career spanning nearly fifteen years, Steve has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo, and ensemble recordings. His albums with GHQ and longtime collaborating drummer John Truscinski represent milestones of contemporary guitar-driven, forward music. A voracious schedule of international performances has cultivated a fervent fanbase for Gunn’s music throughout the world.
• Mining the catalogs of Basho, Bull, Chapman, and Sharrock, among other titans of stringed-things and record-session royalty, Steve has steadily processed these inspirations into a singular, virtuosic stream. Friendships and collaborations with Jack Rose, Tom Carter, Meg Baird, and Michael Chapman colored the disciplined evolution of the discursive, deconstructed blues sound, at once transcendent and methodical, that is now Gunn’s signature. Close listening reveals the influence of Delta and Piedmont country blues, ecstatic free jazz, and psych, as well as Gnawa and Carnatic music, on the continually unfolding compositions.
• Gunn’s 2009 solo masterpiece, Boerum Palace, demonstrated a fully realized power for songcraft. Steve started to sing more and developed a commanding vocal style equal to his guitar practice. His acclaimed instrumental duo recordings with Truscinski, Sand City (2010) and Ocean Parkway (2012), cemented his place among the top of his peers, both present and past. These documents display Gunn’s compositional penchant for charting musical travelogues that ramble through city and wilderness alike. Dispatches home are not merely descriptive but corporeal; the evocative, rhythmic power of his writing and phrasing carries the listener along bodily. Steve builds songs as exploratory vessels, opens them up for mechanical tinkering, and lives in them through ceaseless improvisatory permutations.
• Paradise of Bachelors is thrilled to release Time Off (2013), his first album as leader of a trio including longtime friends John Truscinski on drums and Justin Tripp on bass, and a record on which Steve’s compelling singing features more prominently than ever before. This is Gunn at the top of his game, writing his most memorable tunes and lyrics, utterly unique but steeped in traditions both vernacular and avant-garde.
MIE MUSIC: http://mie.limitedrun.com/
US: Ground Control Touring
EU: Filho Unico
three lobed recordings
p.o. box 2345
jamestown, nc 27282
Steve Gunn: Tiny Desk Concert
by Lars Gotrich
• "Do you know of any good liquor stores in town? Or, better yet, record stores?" Steve Gunn asks me after playing a mesmerizing set at the NPR Music offices. He's a record collector with insatiable taste and a vinyl-packed apartment. His ears perk up when I tell him that Future Times co-owner Andrew Field-Pickering (a.k.a. Maxillion Dunbar) stocks the electronic jams at Joe's Record Paradise, and that Red Onion Records is never without a stellar jazz and folk section. Maybe bits and pieces of those sounds hit the guitarist's music, but his work mostly stems from a bushy, overgrown definition of what we often call "Americana," with a healthy understanding of the La Monte Young drone.
• Grateful Dead and J.J. Cale certainly reside in the rubber-band bounce of "Old Strange," a song that keeps the groove mellow, but will suddenly pop with water-drop elasticity. "The Lurker" comes from a much longer solo guitar version that originally sounded like one of Roy Harper's acoustic epics, but with Gunn's trio, it becomes a back-porch barn-burner. Both songs appear on Gunn's latest album, Time Off — a perfect record for goofing off, taking it easy, or whatever lazy tendencies summer tends to inspire. Mostly, though, it just inspires you to take time and listen.
• "Old Strange"
• "The Lurker"
Producers: Denise DeBelius, Lars Gotrich; Editor: Parker Miles Blohm; Audio Engineer: Chad Miller; Videographers: Parker Miles Blohm, Becky Lettenberger, Maggie Starbard; photo by Erica Yoon/NPR
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Fortaken: • http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/npr/217262994/steve-gunn-tiny-desk-concert
Also: DALE W. EISINGER | AUGUST 27, 2013
|Desert Heat — Cat Mask at Huggie Temple (2013)|