For those new to the Gunn-Truscinski Duo, Steve Gunn is one of the most exciting American guitarists working today. His solo discography, as well as his work with GHQ, should be well known to folks who have followed Three Lobed Recordings over the past five-plus years. Percussionist John Truscinski is a stalwart of the American underground in his own right through his dedicated work in X.O.4 (with Bill Nace and Jake Meginsky), Slaughterhouse Percussion, as well as with GHQ (as last seen on the outfit’s Everywhere At Once from the Oscillation III series). Gunn and Truscinski have played together for over seven years. Such an extensive duration, especially between only two people, has allowed the Duo to develop an advanced personal musical language, allowing each of the players to seamlessly intuit the other’s improvised movements and playing shifts. This private language, so clearly demonstrated on Sand City, is on full display over the course of the five tracks that make up the thoughtfully crafted Ocean Parkway.
From the washing full-kit rides and repetitive guitar phrases that open both the album and its title track all the way through the boldly assertive electric statements within the final notes of the album-closing “Minetta River,” Ocean Parkway displays the cool confidence of the Duo’s clear artistic vision. Taken as a whole, the album’s tracks clearly radiate a new and unique musical voicing and phrasing that cannot help but bring the listener into the world of the Gunn-Truscinski Duo. Nowhere is this more evident than on the track “Ocean Parkway.” This track is the moment of the Duo’s relatively young existence. It starts out with three minutes of slow, steady building in tone and rhythm as Gunn finds, states, and creates variations on a theme and Truscinski beautifully fills in the margins. This initial buildup leads to a huge sonic and emotional payoff over the remainder of the track’s duration as the players intertwine gorgeous fuller measures. Gunn’s ascending / descending scale, so visceral and cathartic at the song’s climatic seven-minute mark, fits alongside the brilliance of his playing over the past couple of years (such as on “The Lurker Extended” from the Not The Spaces You Know, But Between Them box set).
Ocean Parkway covers a great deal of sonic territory. For all of the slow, furious build of both the album’s opening and closing tracks, there are also tracks featuring a substantial bit of playful and hypnotically mesmerizing phrasing (“Banh Mi Ringtones”), acoustic twelve string–centric strolls (“Don’t Lean On Door”) and the full-on rollicking rockers (“County Fair Getaway”). Both players are on the absolutely top of the game throughout the totality of every track. For each shimmering moment of guitar genius from Gunn, Truscinski – the perfect percussive foil – fills the exact and right space around him. It is breathtaking to listen to these near-telepathic instances unfold. While these flashes were around every turn on Sand City and contained reminiscences of the most potent moments of both Fantasias-era Sandy Bull and the more guitar-centric Sun City Girls albums, they move to yet another level on Ocean Parkway. This album demonstrates that they have fully moved into their own sphere with their own completely signature sound. This is unmistakably a Gunn-Truscinski Duo album.
Ocean Parkway is from a hand-numbered edition of approximately 750 copies and, much like Sand City before it, is pressed on 140 gram Dutch vinyl by Record Industry and housed within a handsome silkscreened jacket bearing new photographic artwork from Anjali Bhojani. The album will be accompanied by a download coupon for DRM-free mp3s of the album. Ocean Parkway was recorded at Jason Meagher’s Black Dirt Studio in Westtown, New York, over the summer of 2011 and was mastered by Patrick Klem.