Stoned To Death / Czech Republic / 2022
Czech guitarists Jakub Šimanský and Tomáše Niesner drew their inspiration from the roots of 1950s classic country blues or American folk songs. But also the cross section of the Mississippi Delta and the Appalachian Mountains' traditional music informed by atonal elements of the European avant-garde. This musical style has been often labelled as “American primitive guitar”, contested and often reductionist genre term. On the album Všechno dobré, Šimanský and Niesner reinterpret these guitar idioms by developing an idiosyncratic vocabulary for the wooden instrument through their own lived melancholy paradoxes of Central Europe.
While their previous 2019 album, Tance neznámé, was wreathed around the guitar motifs of Jakub Šimanský with assistance from Tomáš Niesner, on Všechno dobré, their roles are equal. The album is based on improvisation sessions that the duo recorded themselves two years ago in the modest kitchen inside the book publishing warehouse where Šimanský lived for some time. The complex of halls and parking lots was on one side, surrounded by the highway, and on the other, the river Svratka separated them from the busy shopping centre. As Šimanský and Niesner note, their work is now more intuitive and they approach music in most spare way possible.
Their new album Všechno dobré is more droney and meditative than Šimanský and Niesner's previous work - as if it were a manifestation of devotion and immersion of the musician with his instrument. Šimanský and Niesner alternate steel-string acoustic guitars with lap steel guitars, building drone soundscapes with a shruti box. For Šimanský and Niesner, the guitar melodies are like a projection screen of the unconscious, and small or big problems play in them, from struggling with paying the rent to political affairs. "You relax, and strings play themselves – and only then do I look for the context and try to understand what influenced these melodies," notes Šimanský, and he adds: "I patiently wait for those ideas."
On Všechno dobré, the duo finds deep romance in the mundane, around familiar places and everyday wise fools inhabiting them.