Melbourne’s “guitaratti” were out in force on Tuesday night this week for the launch of Duo 19’s (a.k.a. Antony Field and Dan McKay) new recording, Fluid Lines (Move Records).
It was something I’d been waiting in eager anticipation for for a number of weeks now. Both Field and McKay are undoubtedly musicians right at the top of their game, nationally and internationally. For me, aside from having the opportnity to hear these superior guitarists, the opportunity to see them perform live in the flesh is an opportunity not to be missed.
I always feel thorough enchanted and entertained by both performers through their natural rapport with the audience and super expressive playing. There’s no doubting that these guys bloody love what they do and it’s totally infectious and inspiring.
And they did not disappoint on Tuesday night.
Duo 19 showcased four pieces from the CD, including:
- Horo by Atanas Ourkouzonov – a gorgeous opener, highlighting a natural ease of interplay between the two guitarists, intertwining one another around distinctly eastern European melodic and harmonic lines and changes in meter.
- Songs from the Forest by Nigel Westlake – my personal favourite from the pieces showcased on the evening. It is arguably an anthemic piece in the guitar repertoire, but the pair bring a stunning beauty to it via their gorgeous tones, thumping harmonics, great use of colour and tonal variation, and percusive effects.
- Brolga by Phillip Houghton – another favourite piece of mine, full of typically Houghton harmonies. The duo gave a truly gutsy performance of the piece, evocative of the eponymous bird and conjouring up images of the northern Australian landscape where these birds live.
- Hinchinbrook Riffs by Nigel Westlake – an extremely well executed rendition of piece that was originally intended to performed by one guitar with digital delay effect. What must have been a grand feat of concentration was made to look and sound masterfully easy by Field and McKay, creating a rich, glittering wash of sound throughout. Flawless.
As one would expect from performers of this calibre, al four of the pieces were played with the highest level of precision, musicality and characteristic flair.
Tuesday night’s performance was not merely a case of two great guitarists playing on the same stage together. Field and McKay really work extremely well together as a duo, both affording one another the space to phrase and shape as the music requires. The both have exceptionally well balanced and equally matched tone qualities – both equally very full-bodied, “fat” sounding tones. There was also a great deal of spirit and energy from both and of course, very importantly, just a wee bit of witty repartee with one another an the audience.
I have the CD on rotation as I write, so watch this space in the next week for a review of the CD. But don’t wait for me – make sure you grab yourself a copy! I promise you won’t be disappointed.