A Colourful Storm

UNCHAINED - Gabbeh LP

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A Colourful Storm begins 2024 with a luxurious suite of daydreaming introspection courtesy of Unchained, the longstanding solo project of Nathaniel Davis who was last seen on vinyl in the final Blackest Ever Black release. Recorded at home between 2020 and 2023, Gabbeh is the latest expression of Davis's guitar-based instrumental musings and represents a stylistic evolution of his self-released noise tapes and CD-Rs into romantic, bossa nova-influenced melody-making. He wrote the tracks sporadically, with minimal instrumentation and intervention. Electric guitar, bass improvisations and rhythms from an old drum machine are layered and given new life, the space between them softly breathing with minutiae of the everyday: the buzz of cicadas, the passing of cars, the whistling of passersby. The psychogeography of Grenoble, Davis' home since 2018, played a conscious role in the weaving of Gabbeh's fabric: "I think certain songs reflect, in ways, Grenoble's natural surroundings. 'Drac' is named after the river that flows from the mountains down to the city… 'Dru' is the name of a well-known peak near Chamonix". Opener 'Largo' sets the mood, its primitive samba rhythm concealed by a cloud of saudade. The bebop sensibility follows suit, the tension between its angular picks and percussive shuffle a wondrous balancing act, while the intoxicating sway of 'Rambler' is perhaps the most poignant expression of longing and loss we've heard in recent years. Highly recommended for fans of Durutti Column, Maurice Feebank, Toninho Horta.