The Hand as Dealt 2LP+DM Plays SCG on Shahi Baaja 7-inch
Limited edition 2 x 12" LP and 7-inch
Cibola LP+Remote Duets 7-inch
Limited Edition LP and 7-inch
Derek Monypeny is a Joshua Tree, California-based guitarist/multi-instrumentalist who has played in the bands ALTO!, Oaxacan, and Sir Richard Bishop’s Freak Of Araby Ensemble. Don’t Bring Me Down, Bruce, his album of solo oud recordings released in 2011, received international acclaim. He has performed and toured with artists such as Bill Orcutt, Jozef van Wissem, Eva Agulia, Arrington de Dionyso, and many others.
We often talk about how sounds are referential, but how many records are truly prescient? Well, even though Derek Monypeny’s The Hand As Dealt was recorded before arriving at such a chaotic point, the album presages the future. The tracks are a song cycle of creative tension that crescendos with “The Tamarisk,” but never allows for the chaos to overtake the compositions.
Conceived deep in the Mojave Desert, these masterfully executed solo guitar and shahi baaja recordings cover a wide sonic and emotional gamut, passing through pastoral psychedelia, severe shred-freakouts, hazy Egyptian string sections, and Riley-esque pulsing hypnosis. It is a sprawling, immersive homage to the spiritual music of the elders – Don Cherry, Alice Coltrane, Umm Kulthum (and her Orchestra), and Terry Riley.
Cibola is in some ways a continued exploration/distillation of the approach and methodology that Monypeny first introduced on The Hand As Dealt: the 15-string Indian electric banjo known as the shahi baaja again features prominently, and many of the tracks could be called "drone-based."
But Monypeny also wanted to expand further. Cibola marks the first time he has ever had drums on any of his solo records; his dear friend, the brilliant San Francisco-based percussionist and sound artist Kevin Corcoran, sent him a complete drum track and he played shahi baaja and guitar over it. The result is "Nala Gem," where Monypeny and Corcoran explore quasi-Southeast Asian bell tones, dynamics, and heavy wash. And Monypeny ends the record with "A Tin Tear Drop," where he introduces an electric autoharp, which he plays using mallets to create a multiphonic, glowing Fabrege sound-egg.
“Monypeny...makes a stake for a conception of the parameters of variously translated formal/cultural/biological folk modes as the keys to the goddamn kingdom that is every bit as persuasive as Sun City Girls at their most alien.”
—David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue
“Derek, using tastefully deployed effects and small and patient gestures, digs deep into those thin places where all kinds of inner space visions can flourish.”
—Larry Dolman, Blastitude