Posts Tagged ‘Rob Noyes’

Rob Noyes

A month in and already 2021 has been a banner year for instrumental guitar. While the year might not get another voice as singular as Yasmin Williams, this sophomore LP from Rob Noyes is certainly doing its best to keep pace. Built around an affinity for texture and dynamics aside from virtuosity, Noyes is admittedly working more through the Kottke style than either of the other usual suspects — shunning an overly blues base or overt raga dependence. Noyes’ playing is full of life and delightfully shy of an antiseptic studio feel. The room around him seems as much a part of the record as the strings and fingers. Even through the speakers its almost as if the sun can bee felt streaking through swirls of dust, imprinting itself on the listener. An audible sigh and creak of a chair just add coloration to the pieces, as natural as the bend of a string.

The tempos run rampant, built less on theory than on nature and feel. It’s easy to get swept up in the feelings that course through Noyes’ pieces, always seeming to need a catch of breath by the time a song skids to a stop. Like his muse in Kotke, Noyes channels the sun, scattering notes where they lie and letting the sparkle set the tone. For that, despite Rob’s heavy intonation, the temperament is quite gentle, spinning through the speakers in resplendent hues. When Noyes does let the sunshower of strums die down his picking is patient and delicate, webs woven in the moments just after the clouds part. With Arc Minutes Noyes has created a hopeful respite for all of us. It’s most appreciated, for that alone.




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Rob Noyes & Sam Moss

As always, Scissor Tail Records remains a divining rod of excellent folk and acoustic music. The label’s been quietly serving up classics from Rosali, Scott Hirsch, Sarah Louise, and label head Dylan Aycock over the past few years and the latest run of gorgeously packaged tapes shows no signs of a dip in quality. Alongside a split from Aycock and Joshua Massad and a solo jaunt from Danish guitarist Anders Holst, this rustic, spiritual split from Rob Noyes and Sam Moss has been just the thing to soothe the restless spirit this week. Pairing fingerpicked guitar and violin, the tape has the feeling of a fireside village collaboration — seasoned artists playing off one another to settle the dust of the day, and perhaps dig out something new from each other in the process. Noyes’ playing is measured and understated. Like Nathan Bowles, who also evokes a sort of Appalachian, colonial American style, Noyes doesn’t trade in flash, but rather in a hypnotic low ramble that serves as an elixir for anxiety.

Moss’ violin is played more as a fiddle than a classical conduit over most of this album. It has a dust in the strings that’s wiser than its years, as if the instrument were passed from family player to family player, picking up a calloused instinct that radiates no matter who’s at the bow. There are certainly moments when the pair hit on something more avant sliced, “Suburban Potions” for example, and “Stairway to the Stars” hits a slightly frantic pitch, breaking their nocturnal spell for just a few minutes. Yet, when they enter the kind of comfort and calm that can be found between the symbiosis of two players in thrall with the push-pull of harmonic air between them, the album becomes a solemn, serene set that feels communal in the best of ways.





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