Gunn Truscinski Nace : Glass Band

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Gunn Truscinski Nace Glass Band review

There’s something spiritual, almost magical about the connection two musicians can form in the moment. Casting aside notions of songwriting or arrangement momentarily, there’s sometimes nothing as sublime as simply following the sound itself—as much a psychic bond as one dictated by forces beyond simple technique. It’s in this profound moment that the greatest and most moving jazz or psychedelic rock performances are born, in which music is made outside of structure or even a roadmap. It feels almost divine.

Such is the Gunn-Truscinski Duo’s standard operating procedure, with albums like 2020’s Soundkeeper heavily comprising improvisational moments and climaxes born of communication between their two instruments: guitar and drums. To expand from a duo to a trio—adding the similarly improvisationally fluid Bill Nace of Body/Head to the ensemble—seems an only natural progression on new album Glass Band, adding a new variable through which to explore and build into marvelously mysterious pieces of nonverbal yet nonetheless deeply moving and subtly dynamic instrumental music.

It might come as something of a surprise, then, that a good chunk of Glass Band comprises music that’s feels more explicitly accessible as that of the duo or Body/Head (though not necessarily Steve Gunn’s singer/songwriter records). These aren’t pop songs, but the beauty within them doesn’t require any particular fluency to decipher; a piece like the gentle, simple “On Lamp” is immediate yet reveals depth beyond its three-man setup, with a stormy squeal of electric guitar behind its acoustic plucks, evoking a sense of stillness against the sight of lightning on the horizon. A similar juxtaposition takes place in “Tape,” an even quieter and more haunting piece interrupted by jolts of guitar that feel like electric shocks from a highly charged atmosphere. But when Nace and Gunn are both plugged in on “Fencer,” there’s a sense of something massive building. They maintain that tension for much of its 11-minute duration, the mere suggestion of a climax somehow even more powerful than taking a more straight and narrow path.

Glass Band, as a title, seems fitting for a collaboration that feels like a chemical reaction in which an intense heat can turn raw fragments into something prismatic. Though they’re capable of making music that’s loud, even chaotic, there’s a delicateness at play throughout the album that likewise speaks to players’ abilities to rein in the din as much as letting it roam free. As much an experience made for headphones as the sprawling canvas of the live stage, Glass Band is a testament to expression at its most boundless.

Label: Three Lobed

Year: 2023

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