Guitarists Christy Doran
and Franz Hellmuller
, the duo known as Beady Beast, were once teacher and student. That was in the early 2000s, when Hellmüller studied with Doran at Lucerne's Musikhokschule. Since graduating summa cum laude in 2003, Hellmüller has established a reputation as an original electric guitarist, usually playing in the company of Patrick Sommer
and Martin Perret
, or with Luca Sisera
and Tony Renold
. Longer of tooth, Doran has blazed a singular trail since the early '70s with electric groups such as OM
, New Bag
and Sound Fountain
. On The Go
, however, sees the two guitarists unplug for a set of wickedly intricate acoustic dialogs.
Both musicians bring a number of previously recorded pieces to the table, but the transition from electric to acoustic, combined with the duo's brilliant interplay, renders the material anew. The opening track, Doran's "Every Dog Has Its Day," is a meaty, blues-tinged fest characterized by chopping riffs, subtle shifts in weight and tempo and feisty soloing. The sharply chiseled unison lines of "Slippin'" give way to lead-and-comping passages that oscillate between quiet finesse and stormy release. Strong rhythmic undercurrents are common to nearly all the tunes, with both guitarists adding percussive bite.
Doran is heard on the left channel and Hellmüller on the right, so the distinction between the two players is usually clear, even when their melodic lines overlap or when engaging in rapid back-and-forth exchanges. The solos, from whatever quarter, are uniformly excellent, with the duo's respective efforts on "Minimaxbum" and Doran's on "Light in the Dark"visceral Hellmüller compositions bothnotable for their fluidity, melodicism and passion. By contrast, the slower "Far Away from Home" is a delicately wrought conversation of some beauty whose flame briefly flickers.
A strummed, metronomic pulse on the intro to "Paros in November" is the prelude to fractious, restless interplay that juxtaposes flashing glissandi, foreboding rhythmic hammering and devilish unison runs. First Doran then Hellmüller take beautifully weighted solos on "Su Guideu," but just as arresting are the passages where the two musicians lock together in tandem. The order is reversed on "Lift the Bar," but the effect is the same individual and synchronized brilliance. Doran's "Oneiron Street" is wonderfully reimagined here, with darting unison runs of thrilling intensity, melodically bright improvisations and comping of flamenco-esque rhythmic panache rounding out the disc in style.
With this auspicious debut, Christy Doran and Franz Hellmüller join the select ranks of outstanding guitar duos that have forged a truly distinctive sound. Thrilling and beguiling in equal measure, Beady Beast is on the go indeed.
Every Dog Has Its Day; Slippin’ Minimaxbum; Far Away From Home; Light in the Dark; Paros in November; Su Guideu; Lift The Bar; Oneiron Street.