Guitarist Matt Gold and drummer Nate Friedman have spread out some. The Chicago duo’s new EP, a five-song collection that sounds more weathered than their previous foray, Light Blue Light. Friedman’s drums don’t sound as chipper. Gold’s guitars seem to be searching for something. The songs crafted from the seeds of extended improvisations formed in two weeks of sessions in the woods of New Hampshire feel restless. Even the focused moment feel off and the off moments feel like some of the most riling improvisation of the modern-day masters.
Opener “Solar Beast” featuring Ben Schmidt-Swartz on tenor saxophone is a triumphant rise to a beautiful cacophonous euphony. It’s powerfully impressive. Closer “Unalaska” has that same swelling feel, like it emerged from the ether and made and explosion from said ether. In between these enterprising tracks are songs just as inspired in spirit. “Fog” easily slumbers and sounds as befitting as its title. The purely Matt Gold composition, “Juna”, the only song on the album that isn’t composed by the pair, is the most easy-going song here and even it seems rough around the edges as if those edges are holding something back from getting out.”Egg” increasingly agitates as it shifts in moods. Somehow, in an album with less in it, these guys have managed to spread out and do more.
Nevertheless, this is an EP. There are just five songs here, but they’re five very good songs from a duo whose music sounds as wrapped in the cold of the weather that surrounds them, deep as the blankets that keep them warm or the coats that drape them from the elements. It’s a small taste this time around, but maybe it’s what was able to emerge from the woods. It’s certainly reason to keep loving what Gold and Friedman have to offer.
released September 4, 2015
Recorded (Fox Hall Studio, Chicago) and mixed (CrackleBox, Chicago) by Charles Glanders.
Mastered by Brian Schwab, Chicago.
Cover art by Frances Lee.
“Solar Beast” features Ben Schmidt-Swartz on tenor saxophone.
All songs composed by SUN SPEAK, except “Juna” by Matt Gold
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.