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Nathan Bowles - Whole & Cloven


LP: £21.99

Label: Paradise Of Bachelors

Release date: 02.09.2016

Further Information


Since his last album Nansemond (2014), Bowles has sustained and strengthened his fruitful relationships as a ensemble player with Steve Gunn (drums, piano and organ, banjo); the Black Twig Pickers (banjo, percussion); and Pelt (struck and bowed percussion), while undertaking projects with new accomplice Jake Xerxes Fussell and old friend and mentor Michael Chapman, all of which inform this record. But he has also continued to refine his solo practice, carrying it far beyond the confines of any reductive and rote solo banjo designations. On this third solo album, his most exquisite, immersive, and ambitious to date, he again augments his mesmeric clawhammer banjo pieces with piano, percussion, and vocals (mostly wordless, some wordy). The result showcases the full range of Bowles’ compositional and performative versatility. Instead of the programmatic place-based narratives of Nansemond, the seven songs on Whole & Cloven offer a stoic meditation on absence, loss, and fragmentation, populating those experiential gaps—the weighty interstices and places in-between—with stillness and wonder...

Staff Reviews


Solo album from Nathan Bowles (Pelt / Black Twig Pickers / Steve Gunn). Mostly instrumental and based around his hypnotic banjo playing (with piano and percussion accompaniment), Bowles shares between traditional Appalachian music and avant-garde composition with ease. Excellent, inventive and evocative stuff on the Paradise Of Bachelors label.

By Adam Gillison

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