Self and Other is a project born from geography and distance but rooted in an ethical ideology. Rob Goyanes, bassist for metal outfit Slashpine and occasional Miami New Times writer, was living in Miami while Gabe Miller was based out of Providence when they began the project.
A 2009 road trip marked the genesis of much of their music. It brought them to the most impressive corners of the U.S. and Canada, including camping time in the Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National parks and music time in deserts, forests, and swamps.
"The majority of writing happened literally while [we were] driving," Goyanes says. "We practiced in discrete locations, on Montana steppes, by babbling brooks." Though they performed in a few cities, he says, "the focus was on the traveling itself."
The music is thus a reflection of the American landscape. "The geography of the trip pops up in the material we have," Goyanes reflects. As for their sound: "There's less focus on genre and more commitment to story, character, and place. So, there's a lot of diversity in the work -- desert ballads, apocalypse blues, power-mad dirge rock. There are strong interstellar influences as well."
Interstellar? you might ask. What the fuck does that mean? Goyanes and Miller clearly have a deep connection. Apparently, Goyanes says, Dana Bassett of Roofless Records "once likened our practices to telekinetic sessions of 'sitting and staring at each other,'" Goyanes relays. "A lot of our work is done through discussion, hypnotic technique, and mind-body transference with assorted technologies. Calculated improvisation is the core."
Self and Other isn't just soundscapes full of fresh-mountain air and cosmic connections; it's a band with a political slant. They are highly critical of what Goyanes describes as "corrupt corporate practice, anti-woman fervor, the lack of access citizens have to decisionmaking... The overwhelming influence of wealth, especially in Miami, cheapens aesthetics and structures relationships around exploitation and top-down command systems."
Watch out for Self and Other over the next year, when they'll be releasing all of their material in a variety of formats, including at "All Guitars Go to Heaven," an installation in which they will perform and chat.
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