BEVEL is the solo project of Via Nuon, a Chicago-based artist who employs a uniquely literary and painterly approach to the music he creates. Originally hailing from Richmond, VA, an oft-time contributor to artists such as Edith Frost and Simon Joyner, and a member of the groups Drunk and Manishevitz, Nuon executes his dreamlike psych-folk with the care and fragility of a cartographer. It informs the beauty in BEVEL's music, which bleeds out like details emerging from a map of a forgotten city.
The BEVEL moniker was first unearthed with 2000's Turn the Furnace On, Bevel's first for the Bloomington, IN label Jagjaguwar. Crafting ambient, abstract pieces of ethereal electric folk music, Turn the Furnace On showcased Nuon emerging as a strong solo voice and out of the sideman shadows he occupied in previous projects. Making good on the attention given to Turn the Furnace On as "... one of those rare artists who just might be able to add something to the American folk tradition" (Devil in the Woods Magazine), Nuon continued Bevel's evolution with 2002's highly regarded Where Leaves Block the Sun, a swirling, pastoral record evocative of the Popol Vuh's best moments. Where Leaves Block the Sun saw Bevel's craft augmented by collaboration, pairing with musicians such as Fred Lonberg-Holm (John Zorn, Peter Brotzmann Tenet), Mick Turner (The Dirty Three), Deanna Varagona (Lambchop), Scott Tuma (Souled American), and more.
Completing a triptych of sorts, 2004's Down the Puppet String, Marionettes, Bevel's last release for Jagjaguwar, stands out as a haunting reverie that most succinctly defines the project. From the beautiful and dissecting take on Donovan's "Teas" to a rendition of an old Civil War-era traditional that cuts to the soul of what BEVEL may really be, the much-too-brief release brought attention of Nuon and his work to an even larger audience. Culminating in a successful European tour, Down the Puppet String, Marionettes secured Nuon's stature as a distinctly unique artist, as well as allowed him the freedom to retreat and focus on new work.
Phoenician Terrane, BEVEL's first release for Contraphonic, is a record of densely orchestrated American wonder. This is the Great American Songbook as discovered by the descendants of Harry Partch and Charles Ives upon a rock in the sand. As a whole, Phoenician Terrane evolves over a cinematic arc, leading the listener across pages of a sonic story, a historical journey parlayed through a personal lens. Languidly plucked guitar lines pave trails amongst violin and flute embellishments, transient Gypsy-laden tones swash about warm synthesizers, with everything cast in a soft, psychedelic haze. Further buttressed by Nuon's haunted vocal delivery, the songs create a tapestry of tales related in the realm of the surreal. Assembled with a cast of contributors featuring members of Califone, Boxhead Ensemble, and Manishevitz, among others, Phoenician Terrane is BEVEL's finest work to date. It is a tome of delicate artistry and intricate instrumentation, a piece of work that transcends mere medium, and into lasting effect.
Band photo © 2007 Elite Electro.
Nothing right now.
Downloads / URLs
Releases on Contraphonic