Bevel’s Via Nuon has been cutting his teeth in avant-garde folk for a number of years, playing with the likes of Edith Frost and Simon Joyner as well as on a small handful of his own compositions. On Phoenician Terrane, Nuon shows a well-rounded grasp of not only what it takes to make solid song, but also the most effective way to undercut it. Throughout the album Nuon and his band of backing musicians cycle through various textures, recording techniques, and soundscapes, creating a nearly fully-formed world through sound. Tracks like “Mirandola Suite” rattle dusty and haggard like faux field recordings from the beginning of last century beside numbers such as “Low Income Glade,” direct offspring of the lushest moments in Nick Drake and Van Morrison’s song books, with perfectly captured strings, gentle drums, and flute melodies playing off Nuon’s acoustic strum.
Nuon’s idiosyncratic threads are what makes ignoring these huge audio leaps so easy. He adds otherworldly sounds that play out jittery against a serene backdrop, or fastens synth drones to an otherwise organic arrangement. After all the sonic exploration, Phoenician Terrane provides a map for a territory that’s far more unfamiliar wilderness than civilization, a fact that makes return trips all the more compelling.