The trio of Csaba Palotai, Steve Argüelles and Simon Drappier was formed for a screening of the silent film Japanese Girls at the Harbour, accompanied by live music. The three musicians decided to carry on under the name Sunako, or “the child of sand”. Palotai’s new band debuts with a funk-trance-influenced album that seems to transpose the world of Khruangbin into the language of jazz, while at the same time summing up the jazz guitarist’s musical path so far. This is the seventh episode of Csaba PalotaÏ’s musical adventures released on BMC Records, and the third album that, after Antiquity (2019) and Cabane Perchée (2021), attests to the intense collaboration between PalotaÏ and Steve Argüelles. The Hungarian jazz guitarist’s first group, Grupa Palotaï, founded more than 20 years ago, was a true jazz band, which also featured Thomas de Pourquery at an early point of his career (now the leader of Supersonic and Drôles de Dames). PalotaÏ then worked for a long time in a quintet, before immersing himself in other musical worlds, which also determined his return to jazz. He picked up the thread in the most puritanical and unusual way with a gem of our label’s catalogue, the solo album Deserter, followed by Antiquity, featuring the most played track in the label’s history, the Bartók-influenced folk and chamber music detour Cabane Perchée, and now Sunako, combining the colours of desert blues, funk-rock, dance-like passages and shimmering virtuosity.
Sunako’s evocation of desert blues and danceable songs is also characteristic of Khruangbin, but Palotai’s band shares other similarities with the Texas-based psychedelic funk-rock trio: the line-up consists of two guitars and drums, with guitar solos playing a prominent role. On this album, the raw lyricism of Palotai’s ever-renewing playing is matched by Steve Argüelles’ almost minimalist tribal drumming and 180-degree vision. Argüelles’ taste is demonstrated by enriching the band’s sound with a prepared omnichord synthesizer, a vocoder and his own lyrics. Joining the experienced duo and the label as a new member is Simon Drappier, who plays arpeggione and double bass in parallel universes, and can switch between these musical worlds with incredible ease.