Acoustic guitar pioneer Leo Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon have announced the release of their first new album together in 15 years, Noon.
The first two tracks from Noon to be released, “Ants” and “I Am Random,” are brand new, and are among 11 new tracks created by two accomplished and idiosyncratic instrumentalists of American music. Noon also marks Kottke’s first studio record since his last collaboration with Gordon, 2005’s 66 Steps.
Working with longtime Gordon collaborator, producer/engineer Jared Slomoff, Kottke and Gordon craft a collection of improvisational mood music, including a stripped-back version of Gordon’s classic “Peel,” a fan favorite often performed by Mike Gordon Band, and Kottke’s stark rethinking of the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High.” Noon also drops a bopping cover of Prince’s “Alphabet St.,” featuring Phish drummer Jon Fishman, who joins Kottke and Gordon on four additional tracks.
In addition, the LP includes nearly ambient appearances by pedal steel player Brett Lanier (The Barr Brothers) and cellist Zoë Keating (Imogen Heap, Amanda Palmer, Tears For Fears).
The vibe is very different from the other two albums. I was hearing a darkness in the material Leo was bringing, and some of the material that I wanted to bring, that I thought just reflected going through 10 more years of life. There are overdubs, but it’s still more like you’re in a cafe or a living room with these two guys. And even when we had drums, we wanted to maintain that feeling.Mike Gordon
I just knew there was a shape and that we were following it. We were trying to get to that place that we get to in a little room, just chasing each other. We’ve found that at soundchecks, and at my place, or his place, or some motel room. We wanted to get that late night feel. It’s a more intimate record than the others are, I think there are depths to it.Leo Kottke
Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon have both staked out distinctive and original roles in the annals of American music. Beginning his career on John Fahey’s Takoma label in 1969, Kottke virtually invented his own school of playing with his distinct, propulsive fingerstyle. As a co-founder of Phish and solo artist, Gordon has both created both a boundary-pushing discography and helped inspire a generation of improvisers.
The pairing of Kottke and Gordon began some two decades ago when Gordon – a devoted fan of Kottke’s music – audaciously overdubbed a bass part over the veteran Minnesota guitarist’s 1969 solo track “The Driving of the Year Nail.” Gordon hand-delivered the piece to Kottke and the two musicians struck up a fast friendship and musical partnership, beginning with 2002’s Clone and followed by Sixty Six Steps.
NOON arrives via ATO Records at all DSPs and streaming services on Friday, August 28 and the album’s physical release is slated for Friday, November 20. Phish Dry Goods has a limited pressing on clear vinyl with red/gold splatter – pre-order NOON here
Tracklist: Flat Top, Eight Miles High, I Am Random, Noon To Noon, From The Cradle To The Grave, How Many People Are You, Ants, Sheets, Alphabet St., Peel, The Only One