If you ever wanted to imagine what it would sound like to put Neil Young in a space rock guitar duo, then Figure/Ground is the record for you.
Released in June on Ramble Records, Henry Kaiser and Anthony Pirog’s guitar duo album is a conceptual auditory art piece. Based upon the perceptual grouping of Figure/ground organization, of which, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the perception “of images by the distinction of objects from a background from which they appear to stand out, especially in contexts where this distinction is ambiguous.”
Kaiser and Pirog establish auditory objects by integrating different sonic components over time, space, frequency and timbre. So basically, the sounds on this record are arranged in such a way that two people could have their own vastly different listening experiences—based entirely upon how their brains happen to interpret the music’s sonic elements and the negative spaces that float around them.
The record is broken into two suite-length tracks, the first of which, “Figure,” is more ambient and rich with MIDI guitar sounds (think of late period “Space” interludes by the Dead). Meanwhile, the second piece utilizes layers of twisting, cyclonic solos bursting forth and splintering like a bolt of lightning. The sheer amount of effect pedals and other sonic manipulations at play here is simply staggering.
You’ll notice “Ground” features some long sustaining guitar notes that sound extremely similar to the siren calls that David Gilmour famously used in Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” This, plus the grungy Crazy Horse-like tones that also appear across both songs, bring a heavy presence to the album. It’s as if the acid guitar gods of the distant past are watching over the sessions.
For a truly one of a kind listening experience, look no further than Figure/Ground by Henry Kaiser and Anthony Pirog. Click here to get your copy on CD or digital now.