Duke McVinne’s complex songwriting creates a beautiful cacophony of audio unease. At his live show in Kingston New York I experienced his space orchestra melancholy personally. Duke’s band consisted of Matthew Cullen (guitar), Jane Scarpantoni (cello), Mathias Kunzli (percussion), Manuel Quintana (drums), and Colin Almquist (Bass). If his music hasn’t appeared in a B movie love scene somewhere I’d be surprised. It’s capacity to transport is incredible. I wasn’t quite sure if it was still 2012, I was still in New York, or if I was somehow suddenly in a David Lynch movie. It wouldn’t have seemed odd at all if impossible things suddenly became possible or a small man appeared to take me to another dimension while speaking backwards.
I can’t quite explain his music, how he came up with his orchestration, songwriting or arrangement. The music faded in and out of noise and urgent notes played on screeching guitars and dissonant cello. Syncopated intricate rhythms were played by two drummers. All the while powerful bass rooted you somewhere intangible while the rest floated around you begging you to stay but making you want to hide
somewhere seemingly safe. Your not quite sure such a place exists. Duke plays on two guitars. One a thick hunter green Gretsch Country Culb hollow body and the other a lipstick red and black Fender Jazz Master. The music seems to hurt him as he rocks back and forth and the cacophony grows and transcends all concepts you had of music. I’d be surprised if Sonic Youth didn’t learn a thing or two from Duke. It’s all indie rockers strive for and usually fail at while at the same time it retains an almost 1950’s beatnik nightmare beach party feel. Needless to say I love it.
In between Duke’s set Adam Howell played a beautiful set of 5 songs. It was a nice contrast to the raucus euphony. Adam’s haunting guitar playing went well with the mood of McVinnie’s band. His fingerstyle guitar playing was incredible, as always, and his voice was both soothing and mournful. Adam is currently working on a new record with Matthew Cullen in upstate New York.
For more information on Duke McVinnie or Adam Howell you can visit their sites: