TRACK: David Lord – ‘Cloud Ear’: Chicago-style free guitar jazz teases for new LP

David Lord, photographed by Lindsay Lord

ON THE other side of the guitarist spectrum from the strut and stomp are the outliers, dogged explorers of the fretboard, scholars of the instrument’s sonic complexity. Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Fripp, James Blood Ulmer, Pat Metheny can be found at this end of the rainbow; along with more recent luminaries like Chris Brokaw, Yonotan Gat, and Kim Myhr.

Now a new name is emerging, David Lord, from the relative anonymity of Wichita, Kansas, to add his own personal chemistry to guitar experimentalism.

Not that Lord could be described as an up-and-coming whippersnapper. He has released 15 albums in different disguises on top of being a renowned teacher, composer and academic.

Polychords are his thing, combinations of sound that on the guitar start warm then chill, sound simple then fracture into uncanny harmonics. At least that’s the theory; in practice Lord’s music is so much more than a technical pursuit. To the spaciousness of glacial ECM jazz, David Lord and his band add the tense solidity of Tortoise-tinged post rock. The result is earthy and organic, tunes that are refreshingly eventful and naturally unhurried.

Lord’s autumnal soundscapes were first revealed on his exquisite group’s debut, 2018’s Forest Standards Vol.1; and now comes the similarly titled follow-up, due to be released via Big Ego on October 9th.

Forest Standards Vol.2 again features Chad Taylor (drums), bassist Billy Mohler and vibraphonist Sam Hake; plus this time around avant-rock stalwart Jeff Parker from Tortoise on second guitar.

The album’s preview track, “Cloud Ear”, embedded below, highlights Lord and Parker’s finely balanced guitar interplay as the tune unravels in a tumbling cascade of chords and resonant electronics. This is music that David Lord has imagined being “both beautiful and peaceful and also sort of eerie at the same time”.

Getting lost in Forest Standards Vol.2 sounds like an intriguing proposition.

David Lord’s Forest Standards Vol.2 will be released by Big Ego on digital and vinyl formats this Friday, October 9th. To order your copy, visit David’s Bandcamp page.

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