Wednesday 12 November 2014, 8pm
Two great guitarists make a welcome return to OTO, playing both solo and in a very special duo set following the release of their new collaborative album, Cantos de Lisboa.
Steve Gunn has been a stalwart of the American experimental scene for closing in on a decade. He has a prodigious talent for fusing traditional american song structures with a raga influence and is known by many for his contributions as one half of the core duo behind GHQ (with Marcia Bassett) as well as for his many other affiliations with underground luminaries such as Tom Carter, The Magik Markers and Marc Orleans. Mike Cooper should need no introduction - for the past 45 years he has been an international musical explorer pushing the boundaries of his music. Initially a folk-blues guitarist he is as responsible as anyone else - and more so than many - for ushering in the blues boom in the U.K. in the late '60s. Cantos de Lisboa finds both artists effortlessly falling into step with one another in a recording that perfectly reflects - and builds on - the talents involved.
"Acoustic guitar records have been done to death in the past decade, but Cooper and Gunn are so good that every inch of this record draws you in. So singular is their vision that deciphering who is playing what is not just impossible but utterly unimportant. Rich tones ring out and into your soul as Cooper howls “Saddle up my pony!” on “Pony Song.” Timeless music like this only comes along so often and on the entirety of Cantos, it’s clear that these two were meant to find one another. Gunn’s blues bleed into the modern world and are tempered by Cooper, who has seen it all. The combination is intoxicating and in the end we’re left with one of the year’s best albums. Huge recommendation." - The Isolatarium, review of 'Cantos de Lisboa'
Steve Gunn has been a stalwart of the American experimental scene for closing in on a decade. He has a prodigious talent for fusing traditional american song structures with a raga influence and is known by many for his contributions as one half of the core duo behind GHQ (with Marcia Bassett) as well as for his many other affiliations with underground luminaries such as Tom Carter, The Magik Markers and Marc Orleans. Steve's previous appearances here at OTO have been a joy to watch and it's a real pleasure to have him back.
A sometime-guitarist in Kurt Vile’s Violators and one half of the Gunn-Truscinski Duo, Gunn is offering the same kind of shelter on new album Time Off, a collection of six loose, spiralling guitar songs that give more than they ask: These are generous compositions, gently presented. Gunn’s a descendent of the Dead, but also of J.J. Cale and La Monte Young and Bert Jansch and Frank Hutchinson, and his guitar playing has a mesmeric quality, a tender circling that feels almost like being swaddled" Pitchfork
"Over the last 15 years, Steve Gunn has established a reputation as a fine guitarist in the vein of American primitives such as John Fahey, exploring folk stylings with an added dusting of jazz, minimalism and raga. Google, and you’ll probably find him listed as a player in Kurt Vile’s band. Go deeper, and he’ll be referenced as an improvisational, blues-based player. The word “deconstruction” may appear" - Uncut
“The icon of post-everything music” – Lawrence English (::Room40::)
For the past 50 years he has been an international artistic explorer constantly pushing the boundaries.
Mike Cooper’s output of the past half century has been described as ‘post-everything’. It’s a fitting phrase really when you consider he has been at the beating heart of so many critical musical moments. From the development of the blues touring circuit in the UK, through the growth of the folk scene and into the explosion of free improvisation that came to define a generation of UK musicians. Amidst it all, working at stitching these disparate forms into some kind of deterritorialised zone, was Mike Cooper. - Lawrence English Room 40 Records.
“Cooper, 75 this year, is making the most adventurous music of his life… incredibly rich and evocative, and as a live performance, it’s utterly flawless. Cooper takes live guitar processing and sampling as his raw material, using it to build something complex and substantive, full of ideas and surprises, not just abandoning it half-formed.” – (Jonathan Dean – Brainwashed)
He plays lap steel guitar and sings, he is an improviser and composer, song-maker, a visual and installation artist; film and video maker and radio arts producer.