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Steve Gunn is a New York-based guitarist and songwriter. With a career spanning nearly fifteen years, Gunn has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo, and ensemble recordings. His albums represent milestones of contemporary guitar-driven material, and forward thinking songwriting. Gunn has steadily processed his inspirations into a singular, virtuosic stream. Close listening reveals the influence of blues, folk, ecstatic free jazz, and psych in his continually unfolding output.
amby downs is the musical pseudonym of interdisciplinary artist Tahlia Palmer, whose work explores; history, identity, connection to Country through layers of distorted noise, cavernous reverberations, abstracted and found images, and field recordings.
I was thrilled to be asked to create this piece for this series because I worked for Sol Lewitt as an assistant years ago, and was lucky enough to spend some time with him in the later years of his life. He was an incredibly gracious soul, and his philosophies about art, music, and life in general were encouraging to my young mind. It was also incredibly inspiring to learn about his great affinity of Anmatyerr Artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, and to see their direct influence on his work. Making this piece with Tahlia (amby downs) for the Art Gallery of New South Wales was a full circle experience for me as an artist, as I have always kept my experience working for Sol dear to me. Creating this music made me think about Sol’s process all over again, and how I could incorporate some of his layering process ideas into what I was doing musically. I think Sol would have appreciated this attempt, as he was a lover of all kinds of music, and I think it informed what he did. While working on this piece I kept in mind ideas of layering, and tried to loom tracks together as Tahlia sent me field recordings of her environment. Sol would weave lines and waves or colour together in a lot of his work, and I weaved tones and textures together in a way that could somehow accompany the visual elements of the pieces in the gallery. I thought a lot about vibration during this work, and it was lovely to see how his ‘Loopy Doopy’ piece and Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales resonated throughout the museum. To fill the room of the gallery with sound to accompany the experience of this work was truly an honour.
I consider this piece to be a meditation of sorts. Tones build for a while in the beginning, and a dialogue starts when Tahlia's recordings come in. Throughout the 40 plus minutes, the piece arcs towards the end and fades out – hopefully conjuring up some thoughts or visualisations for the listener. Some good headphones are preferred. Steve Gunn