216 spread
216 angle


Thrill Jockey
thrill 216 - 2009

EU/UK customers please order through anost.net

CD version is presented in a custom package that folds out into a 12" x 24" poster and includes an insert.  LP version includes an insert and free download coupon.  Album artwork by Arik Roper.

David Daniell and Douglas McCombs first met in early 2006 while touring as members of Rhys Chatham's six-guitar Die Donnergötter band. Following that tour, the two spent several months trading albums and discussing making music together; they began their musical collaboration when Daniell moved from New York to Chicago later that year to study pedal steel guitar.

These humble beginnings do little to reflect the depth and breadth of each of their talents; both are highly-respected musicians within their circles. Over the years Daniell has collaborated with many notable musicians, including Loren Connors, Rhys Chatham, Tim Barnes, Jeph Jerman, Thurston Moore, Greg Davis, and Jonathan Kane, as well as releasing numerous albums under his own name and with his band San Agustin on labels such as Table of the Elements and Family Vineyard. McCombs is more often seen wielding a bass guitar, whether as a member of Eleventh Dream Day, the acoustic collective Pullman, or the pioneering and inimitable Tortoise; in his role as the driving force behind Brokeback; or through his varied work with the likes of Tom Ze, Azita Youseffi, Will Oldham, Yo La Tengo, and Calexico.

Sycamore is the first album to document the music of this duo. The album was recorded by Jeremy Lemos (of Semaphore Recordings) at two large loft spaces in Chicago chosen for their live acoustics. The recordings totaled seven and a half hours made over the course of five days in June and July of 2008. Daniell and McCombs approached these live recordings as raw material which they subsequently edited, arranged, and recomposed (with a nod to Teo Macero's work on Miles Davis' In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew and the work of the French musique concrète masters) into entirely new musical constructions. The final edits and mixes were performed with John McEntire at his Soma Electronic Music Studios in Chicago.

In live settings, the duo of Daniell on electric guitar and McCombs on electric guitar and lap-steel is often expanded into a trio via the addition of a drummer. Sycamore features the work of three drummers who have often filled this third seat in the live band: Frank Rosaly (a staple of the Chicago jazz and improvised music scene) can be found playing drums and electronics on the tracks "Bursera" and "The Deshabille"; fellow Tortoise member John Herndon plays drums on "Vejer de al Frontera"; and Steven Hess (a member of Pan American, Haptic, and On) also plays drums and electronics on "Vejer de al Frontera".

Sycamore is a delicate tapestry of spacious and ethereal guitar lines woven into abstract, slow-burning and multi-layered textural improvisations. The sounds blend and overlap to create richly faceted and thickly psychedelic passages, unveiling new layers of detail with each and every listen.

The LP and CD will come in a deluxe limited edition for each format with artwork by illustrator and painter Arik Roper.



  • 1 F# Song
  • 2 Bursera
  • 3 The Deshabille
  • 4 Vejer de la Frontera

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