Our new tape Solum is now available from Notice Recordings.
On their first release since 2017, the duo of Andy Guthrie and Billy Gomberg craft a world inhabited by both the familiar and foreign. Guthrie’s intimate vocals float like smoke over mysterious piano phrases; elements vacillating in and out of a sense of awareness. Bass and French horn, the duo’s main instruments, are inquisitive and gentle, often present as a whisper, a quiet wind, an exhale. Sounds exist as distant vertical pillars, soon shifting into three-dimensional shapes, spinning autonomously. In this album there are meticulously placed auxiliary sounds, including textural field recordings and object play. They complicate and enrich the rigorously sparse instrumental notes, resulting in pieces that, in a vividly engaging way, are less domestic than they are the music of dream-like errands, or an inverted walk through a residential neighborhood.
What became Solum is built from a handful of improvisations collaged with recordings made separately. Necessity somewhat determined creativity, and the work responds to and articulates the rather heightened domesticity of 2020. We still have to wait until 830-9p for the exhaust fan from the restaurant below us to shut off for the night if we want to do any acoustic recording, or accept (amplify) the way it vibrates our apartment. Our studio is really just our lives as they can be lived. As in most things, we have to trust that the other’s direction is a good heading.
Materially, the instrumentation is somewhat more broad than the above would imply. I think our mix of electronics, recordings, horn & bass are still there but not as consistent a thread throughout, more dispersed in their roles. The range of electronics is certainly more varied and much less glossy than I think either of us have really applied before. We both brought homemade or found materials more than we have previously.
Andy Guthrie and Billy Gomberg 2021
Organ Grinder writer’s roundtable on Solum