Released on January 18, 2019
CD, LP, Digital
The first notices of Buke and Gase's 6 years-in-the-making album Scholars are in:
“The result suggests a robotic chamber orchestra, soldered together by someone shielded in a helmet emblazoned with a Bananarama sticker, Hot 97 blaring from a nearby boombox. ... The melodies are huge, unfurling as multi-colored banners in the sky. ... The production here snaps with the clarity and force of stadium-sized headbangers while maintaining the intimacy of Buke and Gase’s earlier work. It’s as if stints opening for the likes of the National and Battles challenged Buke and Gase to consider their sound in larger spaces without losing their fascinating edge. ... Even in their extended absence, Buke and Gase have exemplified the ethos of self-determined musicians, songwriters, and sonic explorers, looking for ways to warp and refine an idiosyncratic craft. With an eye toward the innovations of contemporaries working in similar modes, Scholars exists on its own proud terms—suggesting the authority of a peer-reviewed entry to the canon.” — Pitchfork
"As for the gear—it kind of melts away." — Ars Technica
"8/10 gives political screeds the intimacy of a lover's spat" — Q Magazine
"8/10 BAG's core values remain intact, but it's an exhilarating advance" — UNCUT
"8/10: as singular as ever…undimmed hallucinogenic effervescence on a third album that could credibly pass as some warped relic issuing from a future civilisation… fluidly flits between subterranean gloom and cosmic scope" — The Line of Best Fit
"atypical instrumentation, production, and structures that somehow coalesce into wholly accessible tunes, it's an imaginative and eccentric gem and a great start to the 2019 music scene. …remarkably idiosyncratic and audacious" — PopMatters
"A rich, rewarding collection of songs" — Clash Music
Buke and Gase make pop music in the most insane way possible. Aron Sanchez (boy) + Arone Dyer (girl) build their own instruments & develop songs through long periods of ecstatic improvisation, then laborious editing and post-production. A cult favorite of their fellow musicians, the duo have collaborated with or acted as hand-picked support for a who's who of music icons: Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson, Shellac, Battles, Reggie Watts, Swans, Deerhoof, Owen Pallett & Mike Patton’s metal supergroup Tomahawk. The National have taken them on multiple tours, signed the band to their label Brassland and had Arone sing the introductory vocal on "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness," the lead single from their Grammy-winning Sleep Well Beast album.
However, Buke and Gase have not released an album since 2013's General Dome—which saw them tour Asia & Australia for the first time after being lauded by NPR Music, Pitchfork, The Guardian, cult podcast Radiolab & popular music vlogger The Needle Drop.
What happened? Well, three years ago, Buke and Gase embraced electronic music and embarked on a major refinement & modernization of their instrumental creations. They developed Arx, a device that revolutionized their performance by allowing them to trigger percussive sounds, change effects on their instruments, and control vocal harmonies with the punch of an arcade button. They have largely retired the buke (bass ukulele) and gass (guitar-bass). Their new album Scholars began not as the title of their new record, but a possible-new moniker for the band.
The band have successfully reinvented themselves, challenging their songwriting, sound palette and performance. They’ve emerged with a more concise, electronic & emotional sound, in sync with our most forward-thinking contemporary artists. This is experimental music but catchy as hell and with a pop heart.