Steve Gunn “Nakama EP”

Matador, 2022

Warm and fuzzy reworkings of recent ‘Other You’ songs by eclectic mix of appreciative artists.

Steve Gunn 'Nakama EP' Cover artSteve Gunn’s work is often a delicious mix of folk and avant-garde eclecticism which works best when employing repeated complex guitar shapes to create a soundscape rather than traditional song structures all topped off with his singular yet difficult to pigeonhole voice. This EP of various collaborations, reworkings and reimagining takes that template and twists it further with always beguiling results.

With just five tracks to choose from the EP starts with ‘Protection‘ featuring two members of Mdou Moctar taking the African vibe further and turning the pedestrian original into a hip swinging clap along with some fabulous splashes of Tuareg guitar and shrieks. It works but doesn’t really enhance the original only underline it’s credentials and perhaps its aspirations as world music (whatever that may be!) It could have gone further and deeper although the delightful ending is special as it fades. ‘Good Wind‘ and ‘On the Way‘ feature The Natural Information Society and both have a dreamy, trancelike quality that twists and distorts the shape of the originals. Synths float in and out as Gunn’s vocals hover over the mix of the former singing of dreams and radio waves. Whilst on the latter the pastoral expanses of the song are heightened by added ambient noises and tones. It is a minimalist joy, understated and compelling.

As the EP continues so the pace becomes more measured and deliberate. ‘Ever Feel That Way‘ and ‘Reflection’ are almost rooted in the moment such is the sense of ennui and almost Mark Hollislike transcendence. The former light and ethereal, the latter enmeshed in its studied fever dream funereal pace.

This is an artist refracting himself through the practice of others and finding new nuances in his and their work. Brilliant stuff, and as much a companion to the original as say Bill Callaghan’s dub version of ‘Dream River’ – ‘Have Fun With God’ , it’s that good.

9/10
9/10

About Keith Hargreaves 234 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up

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