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Cian Nugent - Doubles

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Artist: Cian Nugent

Album: Doubles

Label: VHF

Review date: Aug. 4, 2011

Few snippets of information regarding Irish guitarist Cian Nugent have been publically divulged. Which is fine, because comprehending Nugent’s music requires very little context. His musical influences appear to be a gigantic duh (the reader can here refer to Dusted’s Listed feature, one of the only Nugent-related articles to be found on the web), a dramatic and epic overlay of gentle, interwoven steel guitar, easily pigeonholed as Fahey/Rose facsimile. That’s not a critique, of course, but a side note; Nugent is simply a high-caliber guitarist, and Doubles is out to prove that.

“Peaks & Troughs” begins as a slow tiptoe around the edge of a cliff, slight and tremulous plucking without a hint of sarcasm or humor — this is earnest talent. After several minutes, Nugent dives off the precipice, the crescendos coming and going, each time plateauing via new, transitory textures. To establish what in essence are movements, Nugent toys vivaciously with silent spaces, using their power to emphasize each new phase of the track. By the time “Peaks & Troughs” nears its finale, Nugent has established such a haunting mood, his dexterous fingers are an afterthought.

The second track, “Sixes & Sevens,” unlike the preceding solo, features some of Nugent’s musician buddies. Unlike “Peaks & Troughs,” momentum carries this quickly and happily, as if catching a current instead of whirling in eddies, but the transitions between the piece’s many moods are impeccably done. They all make sense. As the song progresses, Nugent shifts delicately from an almost festive atmosphere to one preoccupied by the heaviness of its own sound.

It’s just another example of Nugent’s Gemini-like ability to weave in and out of opposing forces with finesse. He has no confusion about his ability to do so, playing with light and dark, buoyant and sinking, fast and slow — you get the picture. He is undoubtedly an acoustic master, and ebbing toward the same level of sophistication in regards to atmosphere.

By Kate Hensley

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