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DAVID GRUBBS & RYLEY WALKER

A TAP ON THE SHOULDER

HUSKY PANTS RECORDS


Format: CD
Cata No: HPR010CD
Barcode: 687368313241
Format: LP
Cata No: HPR010
Barcode: 687368313234
You never know when that tap’s going to come. How about now? (Not for you to
decide.) Or exactly what it means—except in the aftermath.
Mutual admiration society and David Grubbs and Ryley Walker had been taking notes on
one another’s playing for some time before they hit the stage together on a couple of
blistering occasions immediately pre-pandemic. (One of these live sets was released
earlier this year as Fight or Flight Simulator on Café OTO’s Takuroku label.)
Studio sessions were clearly in the cards, and the result is A Tap on the Shoulder, a
collection of duo performances that veers from crystalline instrumental compositions (“A
Tap on the Shoulder,” “Accepting Most Plans,” “Dorothy Kept”) to animated alien
chatterfests (“Leslie Steinberger”), and from ecstatic extrapolations charging this way
and that (“Pump Fake on the Death Rattle,” “The Madman from Massachusetts in an
Empty Bar”) to, I don’t know, words don’t do the trick (“Uglification”). Don’t think for a
second that these shorthand descriptions suffice.
Electric guitars make electronic music. Ryley’s hellion musical fearlessness lights a fire
under the more typically Apollonian, chess-masterly Grubbs. What’s good for the geezer
is good for the, etc. And where the duo’s live performances thus far have been set-length
juggernauts, A Tap on the Shoulder toggles effortlessly between microscope, telescope,
and Cinemascope, letting the smallest of gestures land in all of its sonic specificity before
opening the scene up to disorienting panoramas.
Listen to A Tap on the Shoulder in the context of Ryley’s glorious Course in Fable; listen
to it in the context of Grubbs’s playing with Loren Connors, Jim O’Rourke, Taku Unami,
and others; or listen to it as if you’ve never heard note one from these soulful odd birds,
the two of them curiously, quixotically committed to working inside and beyond song
form.

Tracks:

1. A Tap on the Shoulder (5:42)
2. Accepting Most Plans (3:04)
3. Uglification (13:30)
4. Leslie Steinberger (4:27) [QZNL72100023]
5. Pump Fake on the Death Rattle (8:26) [QZNL72100024]
6. Dorothy Kept (2:50)
7. The Madman from Massachusetts in an Empty Bar (7:53)

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