Nicholas Gunn Does It Right on New Album Sound Condition
You’ve really got to take your time listening to Nicholas Gunn’s 10-track masterpiece Sound Condition, which dropped just a few days ago. You might just miss something in his vast, expansive collage of sounds and instruments, moods and feelings.
Few, if any, LPs, songs, arrangements, what have you, build up as slowly, as deliberately as the vast majority of numbers on this collection do. The primary exceptions are the four cuts featuring vocalist Alina Renae, which are the most readily accessible songs and fit the closest to the typical radio format.
The rest, however, don’t progress so much as they unfurl, like the curling of smoke emanating from a heady stogie, or the telling of a highly anticipated tale. But don’t take my word, just listen to the aptly titled “The Unfolding”, if you want proof.
Money goes almost two or three minutes before even introducing the high hats, let alone any other substantial drum sounds. He’s too busy dropping petals in the ocean with his elongated, effected pianos, each note hitting as crisp, and cleanly, as such a subtle disturbance upon the rivers of time.
The piano’s his preoccupation, that is, when he’s not petering around with some sort of wind instrument, one likely similar to a flute but more ethnic sounding. Plus he’s got some primal sounds likely unheard since the world was a newborn, and a peerless acoustic guitar—all kicking back, waiting until just the right moment to aggrandize that which is slowly unfolding.
The man manages to give you a full day at the beach in little more than four minutes on “Shine”, which starts off with the sumptuous sounding of distant waves, a symphony of crickets up close, and that acoustic guitar of his, crying out loud. This is the sort of tune one can sleep to, awake to, and simply feel the flow of this melding of instruments into a purple-tinged, evanescent aural voyage over, and over, again.
He makes sure to bring you back to reality on “Angels” featuring Ms. Renae, who rides an uptempo bass and comes in singing—thereby bringing in the rest of the music with her—rather immediately, especially compared to the tunes in which she’s not featured. Amazingly, she manages to sound every bit as lucid and pristine as Gunn’s production, which is a testament to their partnership and his musical motifs.