Steve Gunn’s new album “Way Out Weather” is the virtuosic guitarist and songwriter’s career-defining statement to date, an inscrutable, but entirely self-assured masterpiece that completes Gunn’s satisfying transformation into a mature songwriter, singer, and bandleader of subtlety and authority.
A heady and elliptical travelogue, the record demonstrates a widescreen evolution featuring a broader instrumental palette, higher production values than ever before and a bigger crew of accomplished musicians to flesh out the full arrangements. This intuitive and inventive band trusted the germinal songs to an instinctual process of spontaneous composition, transposition and improvisation, allowing Gunn to sculpt Way Out Weather as a player, composer and colorist.
Way Out Weather’s predecessor and Gunn’s first full-band album, Time Off, represented the culmination of a steady fifteen-year migration from the frontier fringes of the guitar avant-garde and toward his special style of more traditionally informed (albeit deconstructed) songcraft.
Those songs developed from years of woodshedding and performance, offering a linear, local narrative that mapped the contours of Gunn’s Brooklyn neighborhood and a matrix of musical friendships, earning him a broad new following.
Way Out Weather, on the other hand, angles for something far more cosmic, dynamic and expansive in sound and sentiment. Gunn’s discursive, mantric guitar style maintains its signature intricacy and mesmeric propulsion.
All the while, his vocals are present, commanding and refined, revealing a restrained, but highly nuanced baritone capable of remarkable grace.
In most cases intimate musical connections take years to foster, with much time spent learning the others’ unique melodic and harmonic languages before true symbiosis can occur. For harpist Mary Lattimore and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler that type of deep understanding and effortless communication was almost instantaneous.
On their first record as a duo, Slant of Light, Lattimore and Zeigler emerge completely synergetic, offering up stunning improvisations that are as advanced melodically as they are texturally. The four pieces on Slant of Light are seductive and picturesque, with Lattimore’s elaborate melodies blossoming out of Zeigler’s tonal beds of synthesizer and guitar.
Equally inviting and challenging, Slant of Light is an impressionistic work that draws on musical histories ancient and contemporary, existing outside current trends in music as a whole. There is nothing that sounds remotely like it.
Presented by Digital in Berlin. Check out our Facebook page to win tickets.
Steve Gunn + Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler
Thursday, 04th June 2015 | 20:00 CET
Grüner Salon in der Volksbühne | Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz | 10178 Berlin/Mitte