Released on January 29, 2021
CD, LP, Digital
The career of Buke & Gase, the duo of Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, has one of the more idiosyncratic arcs of any band of the past two decades. Formed in 2008, they became a cult obsession shortly after the release of their first demo EP, with the left-field indie rock of that release and their first LP Riposte earning the attention of luminaries like The National and Lou Reed, and praise from the likes of Pitchfork and Radiolab (which featured the group on three episodes) and NPR (where they played one of the very first Tiny Desk Concerts).
By their second LP, 2013's General Dome their creative agenda — rigorous evolution and constant change — became clear. General Dome went in an unexpectedly abrasive direction that appealed to fans of metal & avant-garde music, yet it spawned an underground hit in the single "Hiccup" which received a Best New Music designation from Pitchfork, and saw the band tour the world with artists like Shellac, Swans, Deerhoof, and Owen Pallett. A planned 2014 follow up Dry Daniel was scrapped at the last minute when the band decided it sounded too much like what had come before, and for the next half a decade Buke & Gase were quiet. They continued to play and record together for their own consumption and creative fulfillment, and were active in other projects - like Aron's (him) invention of the chordstick, a bespoke percussion/guitar mash up that he build for Bryce Dessner's acclaimed Music for Wood & Strings project commissioned for So Percussion. Meanwhile Arone (her) collaborated with Bon Iver and The National, and founded an all-female choral collective #dronechoir - but released no new music under the Buke & Gase name.
The band made a return last year with their third album Scholars, on which they abandoned their namesake instruments the buke (baritone ukelele) and gase (guitar/bass hybrid) and embraced electronic music, earning praise for the "clarity and force" (Pitchfork) of its "eerily catchy" (Stereogum) collection of songs, and saw the launch of Scholars Alliance, an innovative use of a Bandcamp's subscription service, on which the band's passionate fanbase receive exclusive access to their trove of unreleased and archival material. Today, Buke & Gase are returning to announce another left turn, a new album entitled A Record of... made in collaboration with the percussion ensemble So Percussion, which they are announcing with a single entitled "Diazepam."
Neither group are strangers to collaboration, but they make for an interesting pairing with somewhat divergent backgrounds, as So Percussion often work in a classical context and serve as performers-in-residence at Princeton University and founded the percussion program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. The album also represents a change of approach for Buke & Gase, who have typically recorded, produced and mixed their own releases. For this album the two groups attempted to combine their working processes, writing together in a 300 year old house in Hudson, NY and then recording together in a studio in rural Vermont, before the album was twisted into its final shape by the Aron(e)s. This first single hints at their blended styles, combining atmospheric vibraphones with Dyer's processed vocals, that pertain, as she explains, to her experience of managing her mental health.
"'Diazepam' is a deep dive into my psyche and you’ll find this cycling—a reminder not to look to others to keep my sanity or pose, and that sometimes being chemically altered is the only welcome thing that will break the spell of obsessive self-doubt. It can be read as a response to this very stressful year (or 4), or a reminder to hug yourself, which has always been a contrivation to me. 'Hug myself?' ...Yeah. The way you’d hug the person or animal or item you feel most protected by, and the most protection for. It can be a gentle, loving embrace to the ears and nothing more."
A Record of... will be released on January 29th. Highlights from the release will stream on all platforms with the full album exclusively available through Bandcamp. Early access will be provided to members of the Scholars Alliance, Buke & Gase's Bandcamp subscription plan, which provides exclusive access to the duo's full discography, and assorted side projects as well as new, live and archival recordings.