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Jazz / Free Jazz
Drone / Ambient
Indie / Rock
Folk / Song
Heavy experimentation out of Northampton, Massachusetts. Operated by guitarist and graphic artist Bill Nace.
Solo Guitar 2 was recorded by Bill Nace in 2008, in a good-sounding room in Bennington, Vermont.
This year the record, originally released as a now (nearly) extinct cassette, is reissued without it’s mysterious and (maybe?) long-lost sibling Solo Guitar 1 (Like any good punk demo -- which, both aesthetically and energetically, Solo Guitar 2 is -- the thrill of discovery is made only sweeter by the potential of future discovery).
The vinyl release comes a little less than a year after Bill’s first “official” solo record, BOTH, which was released by Drag City in May, 2020. The two records don’t necessarily stand in opposition, but they are at different points on the spectrum of production, tone, mood, time, place, age, career. Where BOTH is softened by the warmth and precision of a studio, there’s a wildness to Solo Guitar 2 which approaches the experience of witnessing Bill perform live.
Made up of mostly brief pieces -- songs, practically -- Solo Guitar 2 winds tight, then unwinds, or sometimes snaps apart. Crackling, itchy static morphs into heavy, watery vibration, layered on metallic rattle. There are moments where that Bennington room sounds as sterile and lonely as a deserted art gallery. And then it becomes spacious and warm, like a cathedral filling with the hum of the universe.
The bulk of Bill’s releases are collaborations with other artists, who are drawn to him (at least in part) because he’s an innovative player and a deep listener. Those qualities hold, and in certain ways intensify when he’s on his own. As he takes a series of unlikely tools across his prone guitar with the grace and urgency of someone at a loom or an aircraft control panel, there’s a sense of reaching inward. But where some might meander or navel-gaze, Bill’s playing is a process of constant dynamic construction. What unfurls can feel intensely personal, and often -- for reasons I don’t always understand -- very moving. Bill isn’t interested in micromanaging his listeners’ experiences, but he does make room for us.
Composer Pauline Oliveros observed that when we listen deeply to the world around us, we sometimes notice very subtle and quiet differences in sounds that we thought were familiar. As a result, she writes, “the slightest difference may lead you to a new creative relationship.”
Bill is, I think, tuned in to these subtle and quiet differences. But, in a truly punk fashion, he flips this for the listener, making unfamiliar and not-very-subtle noise into something akin to (but also distinct from) familiar sounds: traffic outside your window, the soft roar of a conch shell to your ear, static between radio stations.Solo Guitar 2, full as it is of shades and moods and life, offers a fresh way of hearing.
Philadelphia, PA 2021
Bill Nace – Solo Guitar 2
The sound of the violin is a product of tension and release; the hair of the bow pulls back the violin’s string over and over again and, when the tension gets too great, it releases. The resulting vibration disturbs the air around it which travels in waves, exciting our ear drums and becoming sound. This confrontation of energy with air—the alternation of potential and kinetic energy—occurs over and over again in microcosm: catching, holding, tensing, and releasing. As listeners, however, we only perceive glorious sound.
If there’s an efficient way of summing up Samara Lubelski, it’s these two words: glorious and sound. But, in a deeper sense, her music also amplifies the micro-process of the sounding process of the violin: the specific joys of tension, release, and every possible gradation between the two.
The tension contained in each sound on Partial Infinite Sequence is not disturbing or stressed. That kind of sound is satisfying but too easy. Instead, it feels like that split second after you trip on the sidewalk. Your body could go in any direction, and every outcome is possible. Your pulse quickens. If you were able to freeze that moment in time and live in it the elation of the unknown would be overwhelming. Samara makes that split-second feeling exist for two sides of an LP.
And yet, this music also brings comfort. The tense feeling of elation lives distinctly side-by-side with a knowledge that this music is correct and fits that gap in your world that has been carved out exactly for it. It’s satisfying. It’s the feeling after you trip, the moment that you realize you’re safe, and that you found some grace in stumbling.
There are few recordings that have struck me as having this particular quality of having this level of profound tension, stasis, and release mixed, but not diluted by linear cause and effect. Ellen Fullman’s The Long String Instrument is one, as is Charles Curtis playing Naldjorlak I. These are special recordings—examples of a sensitive human being coming to a deep understanding of what they want to say with an instrument while exposing that instrument’s essence in sound. It’s a life event to find a record like that, and I’m happy that I’ve found another.
--Nate Wooley NYC 2020
Samara Lubelski - violin
Bill Nace - cover art
Layout - Bill Nace & Rosali Middleman
Samara Lubelski – Partial Infinite Sequence
Bill Nace and Graham Lambkin first played together in Fall 2018, in Kentucky, behind plastic. In that performance, they sometimes played the same instrument at the same time. Time passed, then they recorded this album in Fall 2019, in London. I was told that an acoustic guitar, a cymbal and tapes were used in the recording and I have no reason to doubt that. There are also voices, birds, a room, the outside world...; a bow is used. Bill & Graham both deal in different kinds of tension & discomfort and while this album is both like & unlike what I've heard from either of them, it is somewhat remarkably laid-back. Though there are separate and distinct tracks, they flow into each other organically. Not without some jagged interruptions - in fact, many of the tracks *announce* themselves with a sudden cough, squeak or scrape - but the field recording aspects (passing cars, a siren, some banter) act as a leitmotif holding things together, adding a casual ambiance that *almost* invites a casual listen. But it is deceptive in that way. It is not a hermetic recording. As much as it doesn't exclude the sounds of the outside world, it also lies open to interpretation. Themes recur just enough to create a connective tissue that frames some of the more seemingly disparate elements. Brief fragments of conversation invite the mind to try to understand and create its own narrative; a pizzicato, modal folksong played on guitar, then played back on tape at the end of Side A has a reprise midway through Side B; hints of ancient music are bowed or chanted... This is not a tapestry without thread, but you've also got to bring some of your own. --
Greg Kelley Somerville MA 2020
Recorded / Mixed at LHSH
London, England 2019
Photo by Folding Image Profile Ltd
Layout by Rosali Middleman & Bill nace 2020Opem Motuh Records 2020
Bill Nace & Graham Lambkin – The Dishwashers - download
"John Truscinski has made a solo recording called ‘Bridle Path’, and it’s a document of a journey, a singular meditation - a universal landscape soundtrack. Reflections and refractions of sound swim around in their own subtlety. A conversation gets out of its own way, using an unknown language of letting go. A focused void. Drone slabs and microtones bend and waver, slipping beneath the surface of sound.
Using a a mini brute and Korg synthesizer, John carved out time to occasionally sit in a room to work on these recordings. Over a span of two years, he visited this room when he felt like he needed to. Tones travelled through effect pedals and out of speakers, filling up the solitary space with shifting waves. A delicate arrangement of equipment allowed john to be still in the room with this music, immersing himself in it’s subtle guidance. The instruments and recording device were always present and ready when the connection felt right. It feels right. Music underneath.
As much as Bridle Path is a venture inward, It’s also a balm for troubled world. There is depth to this recording, and to my ears it’s grounding and illuminating. I listened closely to 'Bridle Path' on my own wanderings, and it became the perfect soundtrack as the moving scenery folded into itself. My days were filled with long drives, airport lines, windy highways, and sweeping views. I I sat still, but also moved at a clip, feeling tired and awake as dramatic landscapes changed with every passing view. ‘Bridle Path’ helped me find stillness in all of the movement. I considered the music a gift.
John and I once traveled out to the coast of a famous surf spot in Portugal, Praia Dos Supertoubos, and found ourselves in front of some enormous waves - the biggest I had ever seen. The oceans magnifying energy was surreal, and I sat on the beach with my camera, thrilled as John immersed himself in the wondrous ocean. The massive waves swelled, and there was John, brave and symbiotic - floating, rising, falling, and gliding.
This music captures my own vision of him out there on the water.
Countless performances, recordings, destinations, discussions, luke warm coffee, big hooded coats, foggy windows, gear in an elevator, junky practice spaces. There was momentum of feeling our own way, laughing, and listening. John always listening seriously. King Tubby pointing to his head. The kind of friend when you get to know their various cars over the years, and enjoy spending time in them. One channel of a stereo working. It always felt good. John has a valued ear and acute sensibility for sound, and ‘Bridle Path’ is new evenidece of his depth. There is a passage that has been offered, and I’m pleased to know that it now exists out there in the world. Listen for yourself."
- Steve Gunn November 2019
John Truscinski – Bridle Path
Number 7 in Nace's 'Live at' series features one of the legends of the Japanese underground Tamio Shiraishi on saxophone, and Brooklyn-based composer, and sound artist Leila Bordreuil on cello.
Leila Bordreuil / cello
Bill Nace / guitar
Tamio Shiraishi / alto sax
Recorded by Kevin Reilly at Pageant: Soloveev, Philadelphia, August 2019. Mixed and mastered by Mark Alan Miller.
Leila Bordreuil, Bill Nace, Tamio Shiraishi – Live At Pageant Soloveev
In the summer of 2018 guitarist Bill Nace and jaw harp player chik white began a long distance collaboration. They put together enough material for a 7", which was released in September 2019 on Bill's Open Mouth Records. Here it is in download format.
Bill Nace / acoustic guitar
Chik White / vocals, jews harp.
Cover by Jacy Webster. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Emily Robb
Eel – Bill Nace & Chik White
Chuffed to have received an as yet unreleased recording from Bill Nace of his duo with Jake Meginsky. 'East / West' is subtle, compelling and unlike so much other work with tape loops which piles up into wacky incoherence. Hard to tell where Nace ends and Meginsky starts, as the two inch out from crypt-y rumbles and meditate on higher frequencies.
Jake Meginsky / electronics, tapes, loops
Bill Nace / electric guitar, tapes, loops
Composed June/July 2016 and recorded By Jake Meginsky in September 2016. Produced and mixed by Jake Meginsky and Bill Nace Sept/Oct 2016. Mastered by Carl Saff. Cover Art by Max Milgram. Layout Rosali Middleman and Bill Nace. OM51
Bill Nace & Jake Meginsky – West / East
Another sold out number from Nace, this time with Chris Corsano and Susan Alcorn - a fantastic pedal steel player who has collaborated with the likes of Mary Halvorson, Pauline Oliveros, Evan Parker and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier.
Susan Alcorn / pedal steel
Chris Corsano / drums
Bill Nace / guitar
Recorded September 5. 2018 live at Rotunda Philadelphia, PA.
Alcorn / Corsano / Nace – Live at Rotunda
"Gorgeously psychedelic debut by this new guitar/violin duo, created by two of the form's great maestros. Samara Lubelski and Bill Nace are both veterans of the American sub-underground. Between them they have many projects under many names on many labels. Most recently, however, the two have been focused on string-based duo aktion, Samara in cahoots with Marcia Bassett, and Bill with Kim Gordon in Body/Head. These two ensembles explore different expanses of the genre. The Lubelski/Bassett Duo focus on the powerful beauty of drone rainbow landscapes, while Body/Head venture into dialogues dealing with subconscious dream language. On this album Bill and Samara create a hybrid between these approaches, offering textual interactions that blaze like fire. On the five tracks of their eponymous LP, Samara's violin creates a base of long form string distention, against which Bill's amp-shudder creates event surges that fill your brain with frozen images of walls caught in mid-collapse, and continents sinking into a sea. Their motion has tectonic implications. About all I can compare it to is momentary flashes of A Handful of Dust (the Bruce Russell/Alastair Galbraith unit), but the intent here seems quite different, and as mentioned before, the results feel bracingly psychedelic. Have not had a chance to spin this after an acid drop yet. Will wait for the actual LP to do that, but I'm thinking it will make for a most excellent pairing. I suggest you consider the same. Tout de suite." - Byron Coley
Samara Lubelski / violin
Bill Nace / guitar
Cover art Spencer HerbstScreened on Stoughton Tip On Covers by Alan Sherry
Samara Lubelski / Bill Nace – Samara Lubelski / Bill Nace
After years of collaboration in various configurations, the trio of guitarist Bill Nace, drummer Chris Corsano and tenor saxophonist Paul Flaherty met in the studio in 2015 to create these three extended tracks of gut-wrenching and fierce free improvisations.
Wherein we come upon three visceralists who have been collaborating for years - innumerable instances in a roulette wheel of settings - finally shacking up in a studio and fashioning a proper trio record. Glory be. Let's listen in...
"These." It's a phrase that never gets started, and an apt title for this record, which right off bolts from the barn and burns so brightly it nearly gets away from you by the time you're done twisting your head around looking for whoever it was that left the door open. He asked me when I planned to come back. Always, I said.
Nace's guitar mines savage depths, egging on the propulsive swing of Flaherty and Corsano. The results are as beastly as the heart itself. Swing. Bounce. Joust. Jab. Uppercut. Flutter. Wink. Sneer. They all play with anguish and ecstatic rupture - the frustrating joy of pushing an instrument to its limits, fashioning a necessary and brutal needlepoint. They move with all the otherworldly elegance and mania of moths at a lamp show.The music asks no specific questions, but wrenches open a space for all manner of questions - this is one of art's most vital functions!
It deals in shades, no matter how sharp the apparent angle.
Check out "Blue Water": the solemn bells of Bill's guitar signal not so much a funeral, but a new dawn after a tragedy. Flaherty's saxophone sounds innocent, almost tentative at first, but as Chris' drums chime in, Paul starts to wrench the fabric loose. The track builds into a fierce and alien vista, charting a territory all its own - a simmering judgement. It becomes hard to talk about.
Didn't you ever try to eat your own tail in the midday sun?
These three, whose veins are coursing straight through with a nuanced emotional lexicon and the smarts to harness it, have given us a record that expands potential with each listen."- Matt Krefting, Holyoke, MA 2017
Chris Corsano / Bill Nace / Paul Flaherty – These
First in Open Mouths Solo Guitar Series. Excellent debut solo from Sightings guitarist Mark Morgan.
"The thing is though is that Mark has always had this really great guitar sound, only partly courtesy of all those shitty pedals he insists on using. He's not coming at this from a Pharoah Sanders-worshipping, free jazz-loving, sensibility. Rather, I hear his home town, Detroit. The record is scuzzy, and raw-sounding, punctuated with moments of utter desolation. Moments build, only to collapse again. There are even funky grooves but, of course, they fall apart. It's fucking great. Dude, you should check it out!' - Julie Cafritz, August 2018"
"It's probably the best solo ‘noise’ guitar album I've heard since Alan Licht's 2013 masterpiece Four Years Older(IMO, of course). And yet to call this noise guitar feels like a bit of a misrepresentation as it implies (at least technically I suppose it does) a certain underlying haphazardness. That definitely doesn't feel like the base force at work here. While harshness undeniably plays a big part in the proceedings, this is an infinitely listenable record for fans of inventive textures, extreme processing, and dark industrial implications." - Free Jazz Collective
1. Jinx Hack - 4:54 2. Gentleman's C - 4:103. Supercomplication - 10:554. Doctor Detroit - 10:125. A Guy Named Reggae - 2:246. Mikki - 4:22
Mark Morgan - Department of Heraldry
"Charley recites Apocalypse Rose on one side. Theother side is Bill NACE doing a piece of music inspired by the poem"
Charles Plymell's “Apocalypse Rose” was published in 1966 by the City Lights Journal and later that year in his first book of poetry with an introduction by Ginsberg. Charles recited the free-associative poem here, alongside Nace's 16-minutes instrumental guitar abstraction.
"Nace mirrors beautifully its dense, hallucinogenic images. Nace arranged a slow, hypnotic drone, first played on a distant, Far Eastern-tinged acoustic guitar, that later morphs into a quiet, and even quieter claustrophobic-electric rustle, that fits the closing lines of the poem:
The blood that fell on each new tomorrow
And you saw this as I was watching you.
Under the influence of all your stars,
In mirrors of your galaxies of blue,
The hero and his love became your scars
But this rose picked could not be picked anew.
To measure you and me in full disguise
I lay beside our rose of paradise." - The Free Jazz Collective
Charles Plymell, Bill Nace – Apocalypse Rose
X04 is Nace, Jake Meginsky, and John Truscinski. Their third LP, after previous releases on Ultra Eczema, Ecstatic Peace, Joshua Burketts Spirit of Orr, etc.
Bill Nace / guitar
Jake Meginsky / electronics
John Truscinski / drums
Recorded in July, 2008 VT.
X04 - Exile
"This trio of Chris Corsano on drums, Bill Nace on electric guitar and Steve Baczkowski on saxophones was one of the most powerful albums of the drums-guitar-sax statement in 2018. Unfortunately the vinyl is already sold out."
My first listen to these four extraordinary pieces by Chris Corsano, Bill Nace, and Steve Baczkowski was over a very rough ferry crossing from Cairnryan to Belfast. It's hard not to think of the ghosts of impossible crossings, victories, loses, harbors in such rough waters. Why would anyone venture out here? Finding something new or an overdue visit? Ending all of the wars? For me, for my first listen to Mystic Beings instantly cured all motion sickness. It was probably just the very welcome adrenalin shots from their performance, but all the crashing and pitching over the waves became a joy. I was braver from listening in. Sometimes they hovered like a three-headed beacon -- a soaring vision to follow out on the horizon. Sometimes they seemed pulled into action and attack. Detonations and radio calls. Sometimes the spines of their own instruments cried out on the power of their own cores, their bodies having been left elsewhere. They drifted apart like a search party, skies clouded over, a spreading landscape streaked with transparent layers over layers. Or they joined together in quiet and unsparing ceremony, the kind usually reserved passing back through the place by which you've entered. All the while there was no scratching or banging at hard enclosed corners. These three players created a world of open space and flexible membrane, where any violence would only come from an outside imposition. Each of the songs read like movements in a larger work. As an eavesdropper, I added my own abstract, personal story over the whole album. I could repopulate new stories over and over again over this framework. The arc is that strong, and the conversation is that good. And even if just overheard, Mystic Beings generously called me out to where I needed to be. The shallows and the shores are where the worst dangers can find us, and our best chance of survival is sometimes out in the rolling depths. Deafen out the sirens and stay onward in the deep waters. Thank you, Bill and Chris and Steve, for sharing this kind of wild captain's safety with us.' --Meg Baird, Cairnryan and San Francisco, Nov 2018"
Chris Corsano / Bill Nace / Steve Baczkowski – Mystic Beings
Fourth in Open Mouth's 'Live at...' series.
"This past March (2016), Bill Nace and I toured the West Coast of these United States of America performing in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Corvallis OR, Portland, Olympia, Seattle and Vancouver BC. We recorded most of the sets and Daniel Menche was kind enough to record the Portland show. That recording stood out from the rest and Bill has released it as part of the "Live at..." series on his Open Mouth imprint." - Greg Kelley
1. Untitled - 11:08 2. Untitled - 15:10
Greg Kelley & Bill Nace – Live At Disjecta
Long sold out vinyl!
"Nace and Dilloway make the perfect duo. For years, they've each kept their music fresh, always avoiding preconceived notions of what they're supposed to do. Dilloway's tape loops and electronics are routinely musical, which Nace's guitar always stretches to the edges of alien electricity. Both exude a refreshing and vehement disregard for cliché without leaving behind the necessity of tradition. One hears the earliest hints of electronic music, the conceptual and visceral assault of noise, the structural and spiritual liberation offered by free jazz, the delicate patience of extended techniques, and so much more." Matt Krefting.
Bill Nace / electric guitarAaron Dilloway / tape
Originally released on cassette as Silver Lining #2. Mastered by Carl Saff.
"At long last, this recording sees a proper release. There's a story: Initially, I released this as a cassette on my own label, Silver Lining. To be fair, you can hardly call it a label. I have no right releasing my own music, let alone anyone else's. I'm bad at manufacturing things, I'm bad at promoting them, and I'm especially dismal when it comes to packing things up and mailing them out. And so this cassette had a brief brush with public life and then vanished, due primarily to my negligence and laziness. This is where Open Mouth, once again, comes to the rescue. The record comes in a gorgeous full-color sleeve, and the sound is so much finer than the cassette that even the more sweaty-palmed collectors out there will gladly welcome this object in favor of its previous incarnation, and join me in eagerly awaiting the day when these two release a proper full length. I like that they call this EP BAND. It's a subtle melding of the personal and the conceptual. The 'B' from 'Bill,' the 'A' from 'Aaron,' the 'N' from 'Nace,' and the 'D' from 'Dilloway.' It's simple. But they're not really a band. A band is a thing that exists over time and practices and builds its own identity. Or something. This is a duo. A meeting of the minds. A conversation. A lost weekend. At their best, duos illuminate the core tenets of individuals while pushing them into territory they might not otherwise occupy. It sounds easy but it's anything but. Just look at divorce rates. Nace and Dilloway make the perfect duo. For years, they've each kept their music fresh, always avoiding preconceived notions of what they're supposed to do. Dilloway's tape loops and electronics are routinely musical, which Nace's guitar always stretches to the edges of alien electricity. Both exude a refreshing and vehement disregard for cliché without leaving behind the necessity of tradition. One hears the earliest hints of electronic music, the conceptual and visceral assault of noise, the structural and spiritual liberation offered by free jazz, the delicate patience of extended techniques, and so much more. This collaboration though, like their back catalogs, works because it is beholden to none of these. Their individual voices are recognizable, yet the record's allure is found when those voices funnel into one another. In these moments, who's who becomes irrelevant, and the music is elevated to its rightful place, far above the concerns of personality or individualism. The gurgles, scrapes, moans, and loops build their own intoxicating fog, a metallic expanse with its own logic. After all these listens, I remain disoriented by it. It's the kind of thing you want to play again because you can't quite remember exactly what it sounds like. I'm reminded of J.G. Ballard: 'The slower the clock, the nearer it approximated the infinitely gradual and majestic progression of cosmic time.' And maybe that's the thing. Nace and Dilloway each embrace the immediacy of moments and the endless march of time equally, so for this record to finally see the real light of day is no minor event." (Matt Krefting, Holyoke, MA, 2016)
Aaron Dilloway & Bill Nace – Band EP
The trio of Chris Corsano (drums), Okkyung Lee (cello) and Bill Nace (guitar) performing live at John Zorn's NYC improv club The Stone in 2014, three free improvising titans of the modern age in a very limited LP
"An improvisation whose meshes, inextricable, allow larsens or repetitions to consider no solo. In any case, their network would always be more impressive in its solidity and coherence." - grisli
Okkyung Lee / Chris Corsano / Bill Nace – Live at Stone
A once super limited LP (50 test pressings only!) now available to cherish as MP3 or FLAC! First of two duo LPs from saxophonist Steve Baczkowski and guitarist and label head Billl Nace. Both know their instrument inside out and have an extraordinary ability to abstract their two already unique sounds into one super intense and sprawling new one.
"Barely off our sterero. A bedazzling demonstration of whacked, yet stunningly controlled guitar feedback smashing up against a wall of droning, wailing, crying and screaming sax, which each worked as the other’s tonal parallel, it was without doubt one of the records of the year." Golden Lab Records
Bill Nace / guitar, loops, voice
Steve Baczkowski / baritone and tenor saxophone
Recorded January 2014 by Bill Sack Buffalo NY. Mastered by Mark Alan Miller. Cover Photo by Peter Gannushkin. Layout Bill Nace and Juan Amaya
Steve Baczkowski & Bill Nace – I Can Repay You