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Buke and Gass: rock and roll inventions

DIY noise-rock duo, plus Xylos and ArpLine open for Efterklang

Buke and Gass (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Buke and Gass.

The name is slightly mystifying. The Buke part not so much, just say it like the second syllable of rebuke. Easy enough.

But Gass? That’s a little difficult, But if you close attention to the cover of the duo’s self-produced, self-released and self-printed EP, +/-, you might notice the horizontal line over the a in Gass. That’s your first clue. It’s not gas, like the voiceover feature of my iPod would have it. It’s a long a.

The band name comes from the duo’s principal instruments — both of them jury-rigged, homemade, crazily honest.

Arone Dyer on buke.

Aron Sanchez on gass.

Arone Dyer plays the buke, a seriously modified baritone ukelele — b for baritone, uke for ukelele.

Then there’s Aron Sanchez on the gass. That’s g for guitar and ass for bass, as in bass guitar. Get it?

They also throw in some foot-driven percusson, with Aron on a juiced-up kick drum and Arone on bells and foot cymbals. Arone also does the majority of the singing, with a super flexible voice that can go from a purr to a shriek in a split second. Although there’s punk attitude and a touch of Riot Grrrl aesthetic in there, this is thoroughly modern music. Everything’s pretty wildly processed and synthesized, in the tradition of other DIY experimental duos like WOOM.

They sound like so much of what you’ve heard before, and yet like nothing at all you’ve heard.

They’re quite a pair. Arone (a bicycle mechanic) and Aron (who builds instruments for Blue Man Group) came onto the radar at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? at this spring’s Bang on a Can Marathon. We missed their performance at the marathon, but heard such good buzz that we picked up a copy of the EP. And we have been playing it constantly since.

Buke and Gass keep their feet busy.

Their music is celebratory, strangely melodic, enormously cathartic and just plain fun. And now, thanks to Brassland, there’s a full-length album that just dropped, Riposte.

Buke and Gass opened for Danish indie-rockers Efterklang at Santos Party House in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Friday, Oct. 1.

(Click here for a fun, insightful Stereogum interview with Buke and Gass.)

With four bands on the bill, we figured this show could make for a very long night. Luckily, all the bands were quite good — although Buke and Gass was the band we came to hear. And they didn’t disappoint.

More about the other bands, plus more photos, after the jump. Continue reading