ELSEWHERE a very fine guitarist with The Phantom Band, Duncan Marquiss is stepping out into the world of solo instrumental guitar in the spring with an album for folk imprint of high regard, Basin Rock.
And he’s already held in such esteem in guitar soli circles that he’s picked up a support slot with the great Steve Gunn for five British dates early in the new year.
The album is entitled Wires Turned Sideways In Time, which seems, in a way, an oblique and poetic description of a guitar in action, being played; and on the strength of Duncan’s first single drop, the propulsive “Drivenhalle”, oblique, poetic and really great is the mood board here.
It’s a ten-minute odyssey of instrumental guitar, and a world away from the Jack Rose/Nathan Salsburg end of that particular spectrum; it has more of a krautrock, post-punk aesthetic, moving, always moving, thrumming away in widescreen, warmed by major seventh harmonies and a sense of wonder.
“I like it when music builds itself up in an organic fashion,” says Duncan of the track. “When it just seems to emerge and almost writes itself.”
The album is also natural, intuitive and free-flowing; it ranges from tender acoustic moments to experimental electronic guitar manipulations, constantly exploring of texture and tone.
“I enjoy trying to stretch the guitar as an instrument,” Duncan confirms. “That reflects my playing style, always trying to make the guitar sound different, or create non-guitar like sounds.”
The album was recorded in Aberdeenshire – in Duncan’s parents’ garage. “Apart from the wind and the swallows nesting in the eaves there’s not many distractions around,” he says.
It’s cosmic, nope – kosmiche; it’s filmic, too, which should come as no surprise. “I used to use music in my art practice a lot,” he says, “creating soundtracks for videos. I’d spend time analysing films to see how the music affected the image emotionally.”
And check the great accompanying video for “Drivenhalle” (which looks it might be translate from the German as something maybe concerning a long peregrination, a dedicated mission – but actually doesn’t): impressionistic, minimal, full of grain and texture and recurring motifs, asking questions in the prettiest way while leaving it to you to provide the answers in your own mind. Which seems a perfect match of the eye and the ear, really.
Those dates with Steve Gunn are as follows:
Monday, February 3rd, London, Hackney, EartH;
Tuesday, February 4th, Bristol, Strange Brew;
Wednesday, February 5th, Manchester, YES, Pink Room;
Thursday, February 6th, Leeds, Brudenell Social Club, and
Friday, February 7th, Glasgow, Slay.
Duncan Marquiss’s Wires Turned Sideways In Time will be released by Basin Rock digitally, on limited CD and on heavyweight vinyl on March 4th; you can order yours now at his Bandcamp page.