Recorded May 3, 2018 at Mills College, Oakland, CA
Mixed by Dylan Burchett at the CCM RM 234
Mastered at Headless Buddha Labs by Myles Boisen
Artwork by Erica Lane
Joel Nelson's debut album of solo guitar excursions is a map of new sonic possibles for the instrument. The guitar becomes an esoteric object stripped of all history and approached as an assemblage of elemental materials: a piece of wood with metal strings and a magnetic coil. It's lonely twang refracted through the lens of automatic playback and the crepusculent world of nighttime darkness. Recorded on a single night in late Spring, the textural and rhythmic playing maintains a consistent tone that is both mysterious and cleansing. Nelson's active role in the Bay Area and Birmingham, Alabama improv music scenes has led him to study and collaborate with improv legends Fred Frith and Davey Williams, two guitarists known for destroying the master narratives of how the instrument should be played. Nelson's work stands as a new voice in this rich avant-guitar lineage.
Where once her playing was essentially representational and descriptive, with 12-string cascades and plaintive vocals standing in for wind and snow, “Nighttime Birds” attempts to give voice to the fingerstyle guitarist’s entire universe at once. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 23, 2019