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GUNN, STEVE & MIKE COOPER - Cantos de Lisboa

Rvng International

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"For the the eleventh volume of FRKWYS, an unrestricted series pairing contemporary artists with their influential predecessors, gifted guitar squire Steve Gunn meets roving, radiating legend Mike Cooper in Lisbon, Portugal.\r\nSharing their vision over lengthy living room guitar sessions and evenings of cold wine in Fado taverns, Gunn and Cooper created Cantos de Lisboa, an album with variable vernacular shades and musical forms from Portugals antiquity.\r\nCantos means _¢‚Ǩ_ìcorner_¢‚Ǩ¬ù in Portuguese, as well as _¢‚Ǩ_ìchant_¢‚Ǩ¬ù or _¢‚Ǩ_ìsong_¢‚Ǩ¬ù (this latter meaning evolved from the Latin antecedent referring to stanzas of verse in poetry). For two artists whose roots lie in the country blues and its subverted offshoots, the proverbial _¢‚Ǩ_ìcorner_¢‚Ǩ¬ù is actually home, the undisturbed spot where music can flourish.\r\nA tranquil interlude for these two travelers to create off-guard improvisations in their shared style of deconstructed guitar music, Cantos de Lisboa is a curious detail in the periphery of this snapshot of Portugal.\r\nIn his fifty-year-plus career, Coopers global ventures have transported his music to exotic locales parallel to Lisbon. 2004s Rayon Hula musically translated the patterned flora of aloha shirts (Coopers signature garment) as looped samples of famed Hawaiian vibraphone player Arthur Lyman for an avant vivified form of exotica.\r\nRayon Hula signaled Coopers vital re-emergence as a dexterous alchemist of slide guitar. Coopers discography is colored with similar instances of casually conceptual, improvisatory guitar music, including his 1970 masterpiece Trout Steel (an album Gunn recalls in Cantos de Lisboas liner notes as shaping his own ambitions and music).\r\nFor his part, Gunns path to Portugal was compelled by his kinship to Cooper and his ilks experimentation with guitar-picked country blues and 70s British folk. Gunns extracurricular immersion in free jazz and psychedelia, no doubt influenced by his Philadelphia upbringing and surroundings, ensures his playing never grits or grids and always soars to ecstatic heights.\r\nThese musical emblems were gracefully memorialized on Gunns celebrated Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors, 2013) and across a substantial catalog of solo, duo and ensemble work that resembles that of a veteran player more than a young guitar slinger.\r\nOn Cantos de Lisboa, Gunn and Cooper take emotive cues from Fado, the regional music of Portugal, which is in close plaintive spirit to the blues. A melancholy seeps into the music of Cantos de Lisboa, while steering a wide berth from any bummer notes or pastiche. Coopers sparse effects toolkit and stately, gliding cadences are nimbly employed, while Gunns ashen voice and steady strum lend an intensely organic feel to the albums improvisatory portraits.\r\nThe latter half of Cantos de Lisboa echoes the _¢‚Ǩ_ìsaudade_¢‚Ǩ¬ù theme as referenced in the blissful opening track, Coopers howl spiriting the Portuguese word that translates roughly into _¢‚Ǩ_ìloss_¢‚Ǩ¬ù or _¢‚Ǩ_ìlonging._¢‚Ǩ¬ù Saudade is said to be the core feature of Fado music. In Cantos de Lisboa, Saudade becomes a spirit inhabiting the albums corners, but never disrupting the musicians collaborative evocations.\r\nIn the hands of these two limitless guitarists, Cantos de Lisboa convenes in an abstract, almost field recorded take on lap-steel and American Primitive guitar styles. For the brief idyll, Gunn and Coopers collaboration is remarkably rich, marking their passage through Portugal not just as a time to revel in an ancient city, but a time for focused collaboration and creative consonance". - Rvng International.\r\n
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