Both C Joynes and Nick Jonah Davies are taking a slight step in the dark on this release: possibly one reason they are doing it together. Split Electric is so titled because it finds the two experienced acoustic guitarists plugging in and going electric, providing a whole new set of audio corners to explore. Out on Thread Recordings, with original artwork from Richard Dawson.
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Norman Records Sitcom Scenario #32: what if two improv guitarists lived together and had to split an electricity bill? You’d have ‘Split Electric’, a charming show with a two season run. C Joynes and Nick Jonah Davis are the recurring stars, and in this particular episode they also play some of that gorgeous guitar -- one after the other, because it’s important to queue. The real plot twist in this record is that both artists are predominantly aficionados of the acoustic guitar, and here they’ve done a rare plug-in for our enjoyment.
Tumbling between each other on both sides, they pick up some lovely strands of riffing and rambling: Joynes’ “Bold William Taylor” finds some lovely points of juxtaposition between booming notes and the kind of guitar figures that sound like they’re hyperventilating. It’s gorgeous, urgent stuff worthy of Richard Dawson (who, incidentally, goes to work for the record’s album artwork). Nick Jonah Davis draws on pastorality (take in the absolutely delectable lawn-mower twang of “William Sathya” at some point, please) before Joynes crashes in with the delay-heavy, blues-doting psychedelia of “Endmorph Vs Ectomorph”.
Hearing a split structured like this is rather lovely: it’s like two friends exchanging notes under the table. Joynes’ “St Cloudy Apple Spring” has hints of old-school primitivism but accentuates brief melodies wonderfully, conjuring riff epiphanies to enjoy for seconds at a time. The bait-and-switch of this record is where it’s at: that a song so lovely could be followed by Davis’ brooding, groaning “Corksniffer’s Delight” is enough to elicit in me a poignant wistful sigh.
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- Split Electric by C Joynes / Nick Jonah Davis
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