Artist website: https://sahelsounds.com/mdou-moctar/
It’s an anomaly to make a record created out of the pleasure and desire of simply making music together. A record with no commercial aspirational location. The new duo record from John Truscinski (drums, synths) and Steve Gunn (guitars), “Bay Head”, makes it look easy, carving out a space where none existed before with assurance, resonating beautiful along the way.
If I were forced to put what John and Steve play into a genre I would simply call it “music.” There’s a quality of timelessness to it without being nostalgic that is impossible to manufacture. It comes from their years of playing together based on a formula of chemistry. Bands are fragile ecosystems. The best ones have a melding that results in a musicality that otherwise can’t be found in a melody or lyric, or an effect pedal. While “Bay Head” is the third record the duo has recorded together, John has played drums and helped shape the songs and the sound on all Steve’s more song-configured albums. Their bond is tight, unique, and effective.
As an instrumental record “Bay Head” has no literal voice. It doesn’t need it, as the constant flow between the drums and guitar describe fully and without a narrator. Steve’s guitar leads you along a contemplative path that describes an inner monologue that is more expressive than if there were words. Some of the guitar parts are worked out and then set free, improvised in the playing. But it’s hard to tell. It all sounds deliberate. “Bay Head” is the accumulation of the duo’s years of playing music together where each can guess where the other is going to go next. The cover collage by their longtime friend Bill Nace reflects what is both abstract and figurative about this unique musical collaboration.
As I drink my morning coffee, I use the Gunn-Truscinski Duo’s records as a way to make my way into the day. As I am writing, answering email and the like, I find that the spirit of their music matches the gentle light and morning coolness that breeds inspiring thoughts before the LA sun blasts it all away and the day’s minutiae take over. Basically, “Bay Head” is great music to procrastinate to!
-Kim Gordon, Los Angeles, August 2017