The guitar is the love of many a life, including my own. Her beauty is beyond doubt, but the dogged question that rears its head is this: what else can she conjure up? What else does the well of originality have to offer, especially when the guitar’s current cultural popularity has put it so brightly in the limelight? Will she start repeating herself? In some ways – as is the case with recycled chord progressions – this has already happened, but they’re recycled for a reason…because they sound mighty fine. Have we heard everything that she has to offer? No way, Jose! On Nocturnality, the guitar’s strings play crisp, intricate melodies that send the day serenely away. Frets are tapped, and her body is lightly hit. Some people are not aware that the guitar is just as much a percussive instrument as it is a melodic one. It enjoys the wide spectrum of harmony, melody and rhythm.
Notes fly past at a speed equal to that of a passing comet. The playing is exceptional to say the least, and Sundaug (Philadelphia’s Steve Bonitatibus) is an appropriate alias, because the music is wonderfully warm, with only a thin t-shirt and shorts to wear. The cold, rainy spell of early July has departed, replaced by nothing but the light optimism of a faithful, caring hope. The strings sizzle and the vibe is always care-free. The notes can be played in unconventional, yet highly resourceful ways. The fretting hand is sometimes inverted so that it can hammer-on the bass strings, like the music of Andy McKee, producing the rapid succession of notes. It’s interesting to note (no pun intended) that despite the avalanche of notes, the music never feels like it’s rushing; it floats around casually. The fingerstyle-led songs are ageless friends who will always be by your side.
“Summer Rain” glistens brightly with amber hues and Polaroid auroras circled by the radiant sunshine. It’s a tapping tapestry, a crystal palace that holds sentimentality dear to its heart. On “When Solitude Becomes Isolation”, the guitar’s strings – so used to crying out the blues – are once again susceptible to a cool rain of tears. The lethargic motion highlights a weak, perhaps broken spirit that has tried to recover but has never quite made it. Still, the guitar is a lovely companion – a lover, in fact. She’s more than your friend, and she won’t drop you off in that inescapable pit popularly known as the friend-zone. She knows all of your deepest secrets and feelings, and she’s always there for you. There’s a special bond between a musician and their instrument, and you can feel that on Nocturnality. You can get so much mileage out of that tone. It never ages. This might just be the soundtrack to your endless summer. (James Catchpole)