Random Cuneiform Picks From The “Recent-Or-So” Past, Part 1: Gutbucket

Reviewer’s note: Cuneiform was the first foreign imprint to send promos to a 27-year old enthusiast who had just started writing –  in Italian – on a limited-edition quarterly run by his best friend in the early 90s. Since 1987, Wayside Music – their selling branch – had already stood among the most reliable mail order services that I used to find records outside the circle of regularity (a next-to-impossible opportunity in Italy, given the absurd prices of the few imported items one could locate). I may remain silent for months in regard to this label, but the people from Silver Spring, Maryland will forever keep the special place they have carved in my heart throughout twenty-five years… and counting.   

GUTBUCKET – A Modest Proposal

Gutbucket – the quartet of (mostly) multi-instrumentalists Ty Citerman, Adam D Gold, Eric Rockwin and Ken Thomson – counts on a palette that ranges from harshly distorting electric guitars and sharp-as-a-blade reeds to the use of old keyboards such as Hammond organs and Roland Juno synthesizers. They even grieve over the lack of a mellotron in the inner sleeve. But if I must tell the truth, what impresses me the most is the tightness of the rhythm section: Gold and Rockwin cross-question the inevitability of keeping a beat with a foot, relentlessly displacing our poise via tempos and subdivisions thereof that would reanimate Lazarus in absence of the original redeemer. However, in “Doppelganger’s Requiem” the band brings out a softer ¾ with quasi-moderate arpeggios and something that might resemble a melody to sing; naturally, the whole ends with another overdriven blast. The 4-way dynamics are often quite complex for an instant identification, yet what’s bizarre is the clear idea of unaffectedness left by these ten tracks in the mind despite the numerous intricacies. Everything appears completely delineated, ready to be committed to memory with a bit of an effort; influences are not excessively visible; hints to seemingly not pertinent genres are also on display. The copious doses of transmitted energy repay the listener’s attentiveness, indicating paths to the enjoyment of materials that – though not really pioneering in the strictest sense – require functioning brains, pumping hearts and rock-solid nuts to be performed. These guys own all these things, and then some.


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