Duffy x Uhlmann
Blurring the limits between speed and slowness, Meg Duffy (guitar) and Greg Uhlmann (guitar) communicate in velocities, underwriting each other’s peaks and flurries as they ache toward a mutual horizon. These one-take improvisations, recorded in Uhlmann’s brothers’ house on a borrowed tape recorder, unfold like a game of truth or dare. Their constant motif is an unceasing return, a steady heartbeat they mutually commit to, knowing when one wanders off, the other will either follow or call them home. Here, flushness overrides order, each note saunters by like initials etched into tree bark: a devotion both passing and eternal.
After playing in Perfume Genius and Hand Habits, Duffy and Uhlmann embarked on their first record together, Doubles. A testament to the wordlessness of their musical intimacy, Duffy and Uhlmann take up the guitar in order to make an imprint of the slowness and presence of their improvisational practice. They weave together a sonic meditation, embracing intuition and relying on trust. Side A of Doubles consists of two guitars in conversation: looping feelings, braiding sound, blowing kisses, and finishing each other’s sentences. Less of an echo and more of nod, the songs unfold in radical, mutual witnessing. Refraining from any over dubs or edits on the final tracks, the immediacy of the compositions makes it feel like we are in the room with them.
Where Side A establishes a glistening intimacy, Side B takes on the tone of sonic scavenging, incorporating sounds from their past year of touring together. Taking the self as source material, the second half of the album dismantles the presence of Side A in order to incorporate the tactility of memory. Using samples from the road and from the world, these compositions are a scrap book of glued and chopped up sound. When I listen, I feel the crunchiness and static of being-in-the-world as it is mediated by time. Without us knowing, our devices capture sounds we may have missed the first time around. And they land like a sucker punch, snapping us back to the present, tuning our attention to what surrounds us.
True presence in any given moment is one of the most difficult things to cultivate and sustain. When it is offered, I treasure it like a rare gift. Listening to Doubles, I sink into the generosity of Duffy and Uhlmann’s offerings. In songs like “Glacial Fanfare,” I whisper to myself: it hurts now and it’s gonna hurt more, but then it’s gonna stop hurting. In “Euphoric Recall,” I understand how even the worst storms can offer gentleness. In “Braid,” I know trust is about bodies in contact, feet hitting the ground day after day. I return to the urgent question posed in the title of the track: “Which One Is You?” The answer is a low steady bass marked by chaotic and bright fluctuations of sound. The sonic response leaves me knowing: Both. All.
The intimacy in these songs dances like shadows - providing relief even as they slip away. I want to put this music in my pocket and hold it in my palm like a worn down stone. Duffy and Uhlmann give us a sweet rawness that reverberates even once the song is over, hitting the body the very moment words fall away. – Rosie Stockton
- Duffy x Uhlmann Bandcamp
- Hand Habits Instagram
- Gregory Uhlmann Instagram
- Hand Habits Bandcamp
- Gregory Uhlmann Bandcamp
- Flood Magazine announces Doubles & premieres first single "Braid"
- Stereogum shares "Braid"
- Pitchfork shares "Braid"
- Monsterfresh shares "Braid"
- Far Out Magazine shares "Braid"
- Post-Trash premieres "In the Spirit of Fair Play"
- NPR Music's Cyrena Touros recommends Doubles on the All Songs Considered podcast
- Jennifer Kelly reviews Doubles for Dusted Magazine