I'm Not A Gun: Our Lives On Wednesdays
City Centre Offices

Apparently John Tejada and Japanese multi-instrumentalist Takeshi Nishimoto have convened almost every Wednesday for the last five years in order to produce material for their I'm Not A Gun project—hence the title Our Lives On Wednesdays, the pair's follow-up to last year's justifiably lauded Everything At Once. With Tejada handling drum, laptop, and guitar duties and Nishimoto on bass and guitar, the concept is refreshing, not only for the novel instrumental configuration, but for how it liberates them from delimiting aspects of electronic music. For example, unlike the repetitive rhythm patterns that typically ground computer-generated material, Tejada's drum attack infuses the music with such spontaneity and energy that it almost overshadows the guitars. Take the opener “Walk Through Walls” as a case in point. Following an elegant intro of bright electronic glimmerings and supple bass lines, Tejada's funky drumming enters, tight yet loose too, and punctuated by tasty fills. Similarly, “Off In The Distance” begins with a soulful groove until a heavy double-time drum pattern, sweetly accented by a Chinese cymbal crash, elevates the track to another level. In contrast to this kind of robust propulsion, “Words Speak And Choose” and “Stable Soundwaves” feature tricky rhythms where beats sound like they're contortedly turning themselves inside out.

While proficient, Tejada and Nishimoto aren't musos in any fusion-like sense though that's a blessing as their playing stays focused on the composition and not soloing per se. In fact, as guitarists, they largely eschew traditional improvising, opting instead for a more colouristic approach where guitar textures impressionistically suggest a track's main themes. And while there's no shortage of tasteful restraint, the guitar sound is in some songs rougher, louder and more impassioned. The ecstatic “Sundays Will Never Change,” for instance, includes raw wailing guitars amidst Tejada's ringing cymbals and loud drumming, while atmospheric guitar strafings haunt “Scenes Of Someone Else.” So is it jazz, post-rock, or some amalgam of the two? It's hardly jazz, as the musicians avoid standard head-solos-head patterns; furthermore, with the ten pieces averaging about five minutes each, there's little room for self-indulgence. Perhaps it's best to forget labels altogether and simply appreciate Our Lives On Wednesdays for the solid display of talent and musicianship that it so clearly is.

September 2004