Review: Rob Noyes & Sam Moss – Rob Noyes & Sam Moss (Scissor Tail, May 12)

This cassette documents the first meeting between musicians Rob Noyes and Sam Moss, whose earthy serenades and shifting harmonies coalesce into some beautifully rough cuts of homegrown folk-primitivism. Though Moss is best known for his fingerstyle guitar, here he complements Noyes’ 12-string with violin; though there’s never a consistent lead/rhythm dynamic, the full-bodied octave jumps and open chords of the guitar always seem to interact with Moss’s tentative melodic scrambles and scratching fiddle double-string bows in the same way, their contributions circling in a graceful never-ending dance. Everything about this tape is gifted with a cozy, comforting looseness; I’m not sure if most of these tracks are improvisations or original compositions, but regardless many of them sound like initial takes, full of slight stutters and minor missteps that only make the proceedings more sublime. The imperfectness places us in the room with the duo, physically in the space where the notes collide, to hear the majesty of moments like the fleeting “Stairway to the Stairs” or the sparse conversation of “Double Double” as intimately as possible.