With four LP sides of finely sculpted guitar and percussion soundscapes, Soundkeeper is the fourth and possibly best record in the already superb Gunn-Truscinski Duo discography.
Guitarist Steve Gunn and drummer John Truscinski have been playing together for ten years now, so they would of course know each other’s playing styles and strengths as if they were their own, and yet there’s an intimacy and a familiarity captured in these recordings (especially on the live cuts) that come through the music so clearly. A real warmth just exudes throughout every track, as the two seasoned musicians balance each other’s sonic barrages perfectly.
A major strength of this album is the sheer variety of different textures, levels of intensity and volume that the duo explores. From the clattering whirlwind chaos that is the feedback-filled “Gam,” to the meditative hush of the acoustic “Windows,” Gunn and Truscinski seem to be putting the entire spectrum of their abilities on display here.
Elsewhere on the record, the pair dip into ambient territories (“Closeness”), thunderous free jazz (“Soundkeeper”) and bottleneck American Primitive guitar abstractions (“Curtain”). At other moments, it’s like the two musicians are crafting pure magic in the air. Just check out the shimmering “Distance,” which sounds like if Fripp and Eno ever took on “Dark Star,” with its glistening percussion and wavy, creeping guitar lines. Another fine example is the acid-drenched “For Eddie Hazel,” which chugs along like a mountainous locomotive, before the fuzz solos melt away into a blissed out pool of nebulous reverberating drones.
However wildly Truscinski is letting loose on his kit, or however radical Gunn’s playing might get on this record, there’s always that sense of mutual respect. You can tell that they’re always listening intently to each other, complimenting what the other artist is doing, all while giving themselves enough space to freely move and breathe. Even at the most quiet of times on this album, they continue to dance around each other, but with a grand subtlety and a sharpness that makes you feel as though they might just be telepathic. That warmth in their sound that I spoke of before is the proof of their comfort and trust in each other as they perform. Musical brothers in the truest sense of the word.
This striking album is out today on the always impressive Three Lobed Recordings. Grab it here right now.