Pick Three is semi-regular feature in which we ask an artist to pick three songs from their new or upcoming record, and give us their thoughts, stories or insight for each. Think of it as a director’s commentary track that you have to read.
Believe it or not, Brooklyn-based Buke & Gass (pronounced Byook & Gace, since I know you’re wondering) is a duo. Yes, that sound you hear coming through your speakers (or from that stage) is made by two people. Granted, these are peculiar sounds, but it’s the complexity that belies their true number. The peculiarity can be somewhat attributed to their self-built instruments. Arone Dyer plays the “buke” (a modified six-string baritone ukulele), and Aron Sanchez the “gass” (a guitar-bass hybrid), which are both filtered through various invented pedals and amps. Combined with complex percussion (played simultaneously with their feet, of course), Dyer’s intricate vocal melodies, and other miscellaneous hand-claps and snaps, and you start to see where this impressive racket comes from. In an attempt to gain some further insight into their process, we asked Dyer & Sanchez to talk to us about three tracks from their recent release, Riposte.
BUKE & GASS: As the concept of an Album (or: a body of artwork that involves a linear attention span for full comprehension and best results) is slowly diluted by easily down-loadable or quickly acquirable single hits, We, Buke & Gass, find ourselves clinging to the edges of this conceptual earthquake and wishing to clasp the listener’s hand through the conversation we’re having with them. With You. Art is only one side of this conversational equation, and without your active involvement, it has the potential to be a dry, tasteless picture separating us by a pane of colorless 1/4″ plexiglass. Looking out, looking in. This is just a fancy way of saying that we created Riposte with the hopes that someone would listen all the way through to understand how the songs fit each other, how they fit together, how they fit us, and what that means to you, as the listener. These are 3 pieces created specifically for that conversation, in which we aim to give you a short respite from the havoc of our language.
IMMORAL BUT JUST FINE, OKAY:
This was an improv that spanned an hour or so, and we manually whittled it down to a pleasant 4 minutes, smoothing out the transitions and adding vocals with lyrics that may or may not have anything to do with sex or food. I just kept thinking, “bad duck,” which stuck. However, “mauvais canard” is much more fun to say, as I found out in the process. The working title was “Patience is a Virgin”, but that was faaar too literal. Some day soon this will be on our next batch of tshirts.
This is, sadly, a song that we may never play live. It’s the only piece we created specifically for the album in the studio, and the many little added sound blips, running around upstairs pushing chairs and moving things (including a live vacuum cleaner at one point), probably wouldn’t be technically feasible onstage with just the two of us. At least as far as we’ve tried thus far.
NEUROSIS AND HER SISTERS:
“I found a lesion” taken from one of the interludes from our Ep, where Arone called Aron on the phone and he recorded her being an old lady talking about finding a lesion under her left arm, near her elbow. The music is an impromptu Arone on little keyboard and Aron on the kickdrum. The vocals and claps were secretly added shortly after by Arone while Aron was out of the city. It took a considerable bit of convincing for Aron to like it, but once he did, he fashioned the beginning and end to sound like a tube radio. Not very much production was done to the bulk of it, save for volume and levels mixing, and making it fit nicely with the intro to Bundletuck.
This is on the Ep, as well. It is the original improv of Aron on gass, and Arone with a shaker and singing the main vocal, with back vocals and claps added after. It’s fun to clap! That’s why we do it. So much sound with just your hands. The beginning was spliced on, happily, and the words are incoherent. Don’t even try to think she’s saying anything comprehensible, because she’s not. A happily indiscernible 40 seconds, designed to make you want to “hoo-wahh” along with at the end.
Have you, yet?
The always-resourceful Buke & Gass recently made a video for their song Page Break, and have announced a small December tour. Since we included both of them below, there is no reason for you not to check both of them out. Riposte is out now on Brassland Records.
12/2 — Boston, MA @ TT the Bears
12/3 — Montreal, PQ @ Casa Del Popolo
12/4 — Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dee’s
12/6 — Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
12/7 — Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
12/9 — Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
12/10 — Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
12/11 — New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge