The latest album in the King Arthur presents series sees Grandaddy mainman Jason Lyttle getting experimental. NYLONANDJUNO was recorded for the LA collective by Lyttle alone using an analog synth and a nylon strung guitar. He took his inspiration for making the music from the song titles he’d already come up with.
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One thing that has always stood out about Grandaddy is that they make very nice sounds. ‘The Sophtware Slump’ is full of them. Lovely little bits of guitar and synth magic that give so much character to that album’s technological anxieties. So it really is a pleasure to hear ‘NYLONANDJUNO’, a chance for Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle to flex that side of his musical persona. Here he’s free of song structure or lyrics, and to push the limits of his set up: just one analogue synth and one nylon string guitar.
The sounds Lytle has conjured are quite beautiful. The oscillations that open the album on ‘Hitch Your Wagon To A Falling Star’ are timid. These are joined by gentle guitar, the result fragile yet intense. It’s the guitar that’s the real hero here. There’s more than enough music made by miserable men and their synthesisers. But Lytle’s inclusion of slowly strummed chords on ‘Iris Leader Evening Footage’ or the patiently picked melody on ‘15 Items Or Lesson You’ give the record a heaving heart. It shouldn’t feel this revolutionary for an album to be more than just analogue synth explorations, yet here I am, waxing lyrical about just that.
It’s easy to imagine these becoming songs. I’m glad they aren't though, as Lytle’s guitar playing and synth programming are shining like never before.
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