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We often talk about how sounds are referential, but how many records are truly prescient? How many are after living through 2020? Well, even though Derek Monypeny’s The Hand As Dealt was recorded before arriving at such a chaotic point, the album is of this time. 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.
The fifth release from 2182 Recording Company, The Hand As Dealt is the first solo record for Monypeny in seven years. His involvement with 2182 extends another concentric circle out from the label’s Mount Meru series, which was developed by Alan Bishop, David Oliphant, Joel Robinson and Monypeny’s bandmate Richard Bishop.
For those who are quick on the uptake, Monypeny has recorded a companion piece to this record that 2182 has pressed in limited quantities available directly through mail order. Derek Monypeny Plays Sun City Girls Songs On The Shahi Baaja is a seven inch dedicated to the memory of Charles Gocher, Jr. The circles beget other circles which extend out in an attempt to find any movement forward. It is a hopeful optimism for the future.
Derek Monypeny is a Joshua Tree, CA-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.