Monday, July 30, 2012

will guthrie: sticks, stones and broken bones (antboy)

I’m in awe of this record and in awe of the guy who made it. It dropped into my inbox one day a few months back with a view to giving it a spin on this radio show I do, and I was immediately impressed. The musicianship, the sheer muscular intelligence of Will Guthrie’s technique, the raw immediacy of 40 minutes spent engrossed with nothing but a man and his drums. It’s not just that the record’s good (and it is); the values it seemed to embody felt really unfamiliar and exciting to me as a result of the kind of soundworld I’ve been inhabiting recently.

Don’t get me wrong. I won’t be arguing the now infamous Julia Holter line that aesthetic merit is somehow commensurate with or proportional to artistic labour. We all know the virtues of the aleatoric, the ‘unskilled,’ the rough-around-the-edges. But I will say this: there is and always will be something impressive about technique — the beauty of chops hard-won, a body rigorously disciplined and spectacularly in tune with an obviously sharp mind. Give me a run-of-the-mill post-bop gig — keys, fingers, and sticks flailing, performers’ bodies lost to the propulsive groove, heavy breathing — any day of the week over its drone, minimalist or chillwave equivalent. Or at least for the time being anyway. A couple of months back, Sticks, Stones and Breaking Bones was exactly the record I needed...

And I'm excited to report that Will will be in the studio next week on my radio show on Melbourne's PBS 106.7fm spinning some of these tracks, along with a bunch of other current faves and influences.