There’s a new, or at least fairly new, Scott Tuma release available on Bandcamp. It’s a dual release, a split. It’s half Tuma and half Nevada Greene, both tracks coming in at over 12 minutes each. Tuma is billed solo, so presumably the instruments that appear on his characteristically musty, droning ambient country music is him alone in the studio summoning ghosts one thin, subtle, artfully frayed layer at a time. The track isn’t titled “All the Ragged Glory” for no reason.
Nevada Greene’s music is like a slightly more in-focus version of Tuma’s, as if someone turned the lights on and opened the windows, banged the rugs against the wall, and let the dust out. In Tuma’s music, the dust is the thing; in Greene’s, it’s about clarity. In both it’s about a gentility, shades of John Fahey, that gracefully navigates melodies so they sound like songs but never fully reconcile themselves with anything remotely close to an earworm. It all may bring to mind the romance of Johnny Cash, but aside from its modest scope it’s closer to the majesty of Aaron Copland. Greene is a quartet, though at times, especially a third of the way through its track here (“Earthquake Hollow”), it sounds like a full chamber ensemble, the combination of folk and quasi-classical arrangements reminiscent of the production on Billy Bragg’s 1990s Elektra Records releases.
A bit about the new-ness of this release, since much of the time I write about Bandcamp I find myself thinking about this term “discovery” that gets tossed around a lot: It was released almost two months back, on July 16. If you follow Scott Tuma on Bandcamp (at scotttuma.bandcamp.com), you might not have known about this split release. I didn’t. I found out because a friend I follow bought it, and so it popped up in my Bandcamp feed page. This news vacuum is the result of how releases are selectively labeled on the service. Ragged Hollow is hosted not by Tuma’s account, or by Greene’s (nevadagreene.bandcamp.com), but by that of the releasing label, Dismal Niche Records (dismalnichetapes.bandcamp.com).
Sometimes dual albums appear on an individual artist’s page, and sometimes, since these accounts are fairly easy to set up, a dual-artist page is created, as in the case of the recent Schaum from Masayoshi Fujiita and Jan Jelinek. Their page, masayoshifujiitajanjelinek.bandcamp.com, features just that album. Maybe the existence of that page will encourage them to collaborate again in the future. In the meanwhile, it’d be great if Bandcamp could coax all these flailing discographical tentacles into something that better alerts admirers of the musicians to the existence of their music. I found out about Schaum today, three days after its release, thanks to a mention on Facebook by the musician Greg Davis.
More from Dismal Niche at cargocollective.com/dismalniche.