If you like band names that are direct and to the point, you’ll love Buke and Gase, a New York Indie Rock duo with a singular style. The twosome — Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez — derived its moniker from the (primary) handmade/self-manipulated instruments each member plays. Dyer is on the “buke,” a baritone ukulele that she modified to play more like a guitar, while Sanchez plays the “gass” (the band was original called “Buke and Gass,” but reportedly changed it to avoid pronunciation confusion), a guitar/bass hybrid he initially built out of metal from an old Volvo.
The twosome utilizes other homemade instruments, including foot-operated percussion, and runs them all through various pedals to create Buke and Gase’s big, spacious sound. While this may all lead you to believe Buke and Gase makes wildly experimental music, the duo actually comes off as fairly conventional, writing compelling Post Punk songs that are guided by Dyer’s magnetic vocals and alluring melodies and elevated by unique arrangements and atypical rhythms and beats.
Dyer and Sanchez were previous bandmates in a group that split in the early ’00s. When they reconnected and decided to come up with a new project in 2007, Buke and Gase was born. The duo self-released an EP in 2008 and began to attract press and fan attention, leading to a deal with Brassland Records. The pair’s full-length debut, Riposte, came out in 2010. Buke and Gase’s most recent effort, the hypnotic and sometimes jarring General Dome, was released in 2013. The two musicians have played shows and festivals across the world, sharing stages with artists like Laurie Anderson, Deerhoof, tUnE-yArDs and Flying Lotus.
Buke and Gase has worked fairly often with Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner, guitarist for Indie Rock stars The National and noted composer/performer in the Avant-Garde/Neo Classical world. Brassland is the label co-founded by Dessner, his twin brother Aaron and Alec Hanley Bemis (the Dessners reportedly “discovered” Buke and Gase playing in a basement venue in Brooklyn), and the duo participated in Dessner’s Cincinnati-based MusicNOW festival in 2013. More recently, Sanchez created another new instrument — the “dulcimer-like” Chordstick — specifically for Dessner’s Music for Wood & Strings composition and release, a collaboration with the So Percussion ensemble which came out on Brassland in May.