Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon
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The unlikely partnership between acoustic guitar pioneer Leo Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon continues with the long-awaited Noon, their first new album in 15 years and Kottke’s first studio record since his last collaboration with Gordon, 2005’s 66 Steps. Couching late-night melancholy in a summer lilt, Noon features 11 tracks of warmly askew folk-pop, intricate playing, and the intimate third voice created by Kottke and Gordon, two of the most accomplished and idiosyncratic instrumentalists in American music.
Beginning his career in 1969, Kottke virtually invented his own school of playing with his distinct, propulsive flatpicking. As a co-founder of Phish in 1983, Gordon’s own big-eared musical vocabulary has created a boundary-pushing discography of studio and live releases and helped shape a generation of improvisers. The pairing of Kottke with Gordon began some two decades ago when Gordon, a longtime fan, audaciously overdubbed a bass part over Kottke’s 1969 solo track “The Driving of the Year Nail” and hand-delivered it to the veteran guitarist. The result was 2002’s acclaimed Clone.
Recorded in New Orleans and Vermont, with music exchanged by file, sheet music, and face-to-face, Noon is the musically visible part of a conversation between Kottke and Gordon. Noon also finds the duo joined by Phish drummer Jon Fishman on five tracks, as well as appearances by pedal steel player Brett Lanier (The Barr Brothers) and cellist Zoë Keating (Imogen Heap). A panoramic collection of small, strange moments to parallel the serendipitous turns of its extended five-year creation, Noon is a collaboration as singular as its musicians.
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