The e-bow may be, in a way, a bit of an overrated accessory in the contemporary guitarist?s toolbox. Still it?s hard not to recognize that some of its users have developed a very valuable skill at it; think Charalambides? Tom Carter, or Portland?s Subarachnoid Space, to name a few. And as a guitar duo, Sun Stabbed (Pierre Faure and Thierry Monnier) may, at first, bring to mind their American counterpart, Zaika, formed by Tom Carter and Marcia Bassett, with the same mood for noisy soundscapes where plucked strings now appear like the accidents in a drone environment. But the French Sun Stabbed has, since their rightfully named ?Radio? on Pseudo Arcana two years ago, developed a sound of its own, mostly based on radio-like sounds and parasites, and sparser ambiances.
This new release, second in the discography of the duo, is comprised of two snippets of live recordings from 2006, and marks the debuts of Thierry Monnier as the head of the label Doubtful Sounds. A 7-inch is not a bad way to start things and everything is here beautifully packaged and illustrated. Now, thess kinds of noisy, improvised guitar works are often hard to appreciate on short formats, creating deceptive pieces, too much edited down, where a couple more minutes would have helped in setting up the mood, instead of falling into a kind of abstract miniature-genre. Well luckily and surprisingly, considering the longer tracks they?ve released so far, Sun Stabbed manages here to avoid this format annoyance. The two tracks, reminding one of Fly Pan Am by their names (but only by their names), manage to restitute their live nature in less than five minutes. Surely the fact that the A side??De l'ambiance sonore dans une construction plus ?tendue? has been captured in a live show, away from the stage, helps at giving that live and ?alive? feeling. The second track, ?Toute l?eau de la mer ne pourrait pas?? is already closer to what I called an abstract miniature, setting aside the live sound and concentrating more on short, noisy loops; but the ability of the duo to quickly change their sound, and not to get imprisoned by their loops, gives this three minute track a very worthy diversity and progressivity.
So this is a real success, I think, as there?s not a moment too much nor too few in these ten minutes. A beautiful way to start the Doubtful Sounds label and a nice one to keep us posted on the French duo activity, too. 8/10 -- Constantin Dubois (30 July, 2008)