Buke and Gase

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Riposte (2010), 6.5/10
General Dome (2013), 6/10
Scholars (2019), 6/10

New York's duo Buke and Gass (Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez) seven-song EP +/- (2008). The album 1 Run For You 2:11 2 Sleep Gets Your Ghost 4:59 3 Red Hood Came Home 4:58 4 Bundletuck 4:52 5 Medicina 3:54 6 Bring Your Knives 4:04 7 Outt! 4:35 Riposte (2010) contains quirky songs for which the singer employs a wide range of tones and registers while the rhythms are provided more or less erratically by foot-operated percussion. The instrumentation includes handmade instruments that add to the general disorienting feeling: oddly unorthodox rhythms, deviant melodies that seem to change whimsically within a song, jarring timbres of the instruments. The songs belong to no specific genre: the lively prog-samba of Your Face Left Before You, the rude syncopation of Sleep Gets Your Ghost, the feverish post-blues rant of Outt and and especially the grotesque flamenco of Revel In Contempt belong to a warped, barbed musical universe where math-rock and folk-rock collide and destroy each other. Buke and Gase sound like Don Caballero, Sonic Youth, Art Bears, Polvo, Blonde Redhead and sometimes a female-fronted Pere Ubu, constantly unstable, constantly impossible to categorize, but certainly closer to the post-rock generation of the 1990s than to the digital noise-makers of the 2010s.

For better and for worse, the songs on General Dome (2013) are more stable and less erratic, yielding a more controlled cacophony. The melodic, propulsive and even romantic Houdini Crush and the Kate Bush-esque arias of In The Company Of Fish and Split Like A Lip hint at a process of normalization, but the jump-blues with cabaret-ish overtones of Hiccup and the manic voodoo drumming of Hard Times share the same mad genes of the debut.

The album was complemented by the four-song EP Function Falls (2012), with the deviant hymn Misshaping Introduction, and the three-song EP Arone vs. Aron (2017), that collects old songs like Seam Esteem,

Ditching the handmade instruments, Scholars (2019) completed the normalization with much simplified song structures. The singer sounds like Sinead O'Connor in the suspenseful and confessional Stumbler. Derby is a clownish reggae-soul. Pink Boots has a cute instrumental break but it's otherwise a facile girl-group singalong. Grips is a bluesy ballad with rowdy dissonance. However, Scholars boasts one of their most inventive rhythms, although the melody is not exactly groundbreaking; and Eternity creates an ominous atmosphere, somewhere between Tom Waits and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk before turning into an operatic aria.

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