No Magic Hand by Ben GunningRelease date: July 21, 2023
Label: Halocline Trance
Artists switching their musical outlook at some point in their career is no novelty. It is just a question of whether that shift has done them good as far as creating tangible and listenable music.
Now, that shift can be just a slight shift, or it could be a complete change of perspective, but still, there would be elements by which you can compare the two and realise whether the artist in question has made the right move.
Now Canadian Ben Gunning has started out his musical journey when he co-founded indie rock band Local Rabbits at the tender age of 14, so changing your musical outlook would be no surprise.
Yet the key with Gunning is that from that point (band dissolution in 2000) Gunning has kept shifting that outlook without really looking back, but always retaining something of his individuality, always bringing ample creativity and imagination to the task – from left-field soul to house-inflected sound of his 2019 album Nature.
Now, his latest outing, No Magic Hand, actually contains a magic touch to Gunning’s music. It seems that this time around he has taken stock of what he has done so far and has taken pieces of each of the musical strands he has done so far trying to unify them in a reasonable whole.
And it all works so well together – from the Arto Lindsay-like electronic take on bossa nova of ‘The Vapours’, or ’Static and White Noise’ to the balladry of ‘Love Is Real’ to slow-burning soul experimentation of ‘Power’ it is all there sounding different and then as something created by one mind and concept, as it was.