Bill Nace uses his guitar to make unguitarlike sounds on Both | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Bill Nace uses his guitar to make unguitarlike sounds on Both 

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click to enlarge Bill Nace

Bill Nace

Chelsea Hogue

Until COVID-19 laid waste to his and everyone else’s touring schedule, Bill Nace was looking forward to a splendid spring. Not only would the Philadelphia-based guitarist have opened in Chicago for the Gunn-Truscinski Duo and Mdou Moctar; he’d also have joined Gunn, Truscinski, and Kim Gordon (his bandmate in Body/Head) at a couple festivals in other states, where the combo would’ve improvised accompaniment to screenings of Andy Warhol’s 1963 film Kiss. His label, Open Mouth, is still set to go into high gear in the coming months; it plans to release LPs of psychedelic violin solos by Samara Lubelski and electronic drones by Truscinski, as well as an album by a trio of Nace, cellist Leila Bourdreuil, and saxophonist Tamio Shiraishi, which specializes in stacking layers of tissue-thin electric noise. Capping off the season will be the Nace solo record Both, slated for release via Drag City on May 22. It provides an excellent opportunity to experience the range of unguitarlike sounds he can coax out of his instrument using a small collection of files, bows, and plectra. One track (they’re all numbered) sounds like field recordings of Godzilla stumbling home, dead drunk, after a night he won’t remember; another resembles the same monster’s voice being played backward slowly. Only near the end of the record does Nace relent and sound like he’s playing a guitar; “Part 8” thrusts you into a fever dream of Link Wray closing a blues bar on the moon.   v

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