Steve Gunn & David Moore
Reflections Vol. 1: Let the Moon Be a Planet

(RVNG Intl.)



Brian Eno came up with the phrase ‘discreet music’ to describe his excursions into ambience. The term applies perfectly to this new record by Steve Gunn and David Moore.

The album’s eight unhurriedly evolving, improvised compositions say a steadfast no to loud noises and sudden movements. Full of alluring open spaces and glimmers of hypnotic silence between the notes, this music is practically allergic to making a spectacle of itself. As such, the album works beautifully as becalming background music, but there are plenty of hypnotic hidden depths for the more involved listener to sink into.

The first in RVNG Intl’s planned series of spontaneous collaborations between likeminded contemporary musicians under the Reflections banner (to supplement the label’s long-standing FRKWYS series of creative summits between experimental contemporary artists and esteemed cult heroes, perhaps), the mysteriously titled Let the Moon Be a Planet teams up Steve Gunn (one of the reigning champions of open-eared American guitar arts) with David Moore, the bandleader of minimalist ensemble Bing & Ruth.

Both collaborators are cut adrift from their usual default settings. Especially Gunn: far removed from the hazy psych-folk singer-songwriter splendour of 2021’s excellent solo album Other You, Gunn garnishes Moore’s slow-burn contemplative piano patterns with exquisite flurries on nylon-stringed classical guitar, a recent addition to the New York-based guitarist’s six-string palette.

Alternating between unadorned, sparse beauty and subtle tension, the ensuing musical dialogue between Gunn and Moore demonstrates a telepathic understanding of when to step up and when to pull back: not a note is wasted during these masterful demonstrations of economic interplay and exquisite mood-building.

Frequently, as on the sublime opener ‘Over The Dune’ and the aptly titled ‘Painterly’, the results are impossibly, transcendentally lovely, and refreshingly uncategorisable (is this modern minimalist composition? Ambient? Free improv?). Meditative but far from toothlessly bland, this Moon… is capable of casting a serious spell.