At a far remove musically from a band like Balún, but equally at home in Brooklyn (though they now spend at least part of their time in upstate New York, in the city of Hudson), is the duo Buke and Gase, though they too are decidedly experimental: for Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez both play instruments of their own devising, the former a “buke,” a six-string baritone ukulele that has been extensively remodeled, and the latter a “gase,” a hybrid creation that’s equal parts guitar and bass; and their manner of playing them eschews acoustic softness, so that, while the duo does explore musical texture – which is one of their aims, as they remark in the notes to their numbers on their Bandcamp page – they are at the same time wedded to sonic volume.
Theirs is a loud music, glorying in its decibels, and it’s not so easy to tell which of the two instruments is intended to be played the more loudly; while the energy of the result is heightened even further by Dyer’s voice, which is similarly voluminous: in the venues where they have begun to perform frequently, their live act would I imagine fill the room with sound, any room, no matter the size.
To get some idea of what these two new-fashioned instruments sound like in natura, and also to see how they are played, a video of the duo performing in NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts” series may be recommended:
Three numbers from Buke and Gase’s debut album Riposte convey both the depth and the amplitude of their music in its finished studio version:
“Revel in Contempt”:
A new album, General Dome, is scheduled for release later this month, and as a sort of foretaste an EP was put out last autumn, Function Falls; here is one of the band’s original numbers from it, “Tending the Talk”:
And a memorable cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday”:
Concerning the new album and its sources of inspiration, a notice on Pitchfork contains a piece of information about the jacket art that I’ll quote here, if only for the possibility that it will prove to pertain to more than the exterior: the duo “chose to unveil the record’s artwork with General Dome – a piece inspired by a Sol LeWitt exhibition that Dyer caught at New York’s Dia Beacon gallery, in which the two have created a new graphical, coded alphabet with which to create cryptic messages [...] the band will post the key to uncode the messages on their website closer to the record’s release.”
This will be something to keep one’s eyes and ears open for.