Bevel makes pastoral folk music in the same vein as Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake and Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Bevel is the project of Via Nuon (lead guitarist of Manishevitz and now defunct Drunk). Down the Puppet String, Marionettes began in the early parts of 1998, is now being introduced for the first time since its original conception 6 years ago. Comprised of old and new songs diligently re-worked and re-recorded between 2001 and 2002, it also includes a chilling rendition of a Civil War-era traditional and a suitably deconstructed version of Donovan Leitch’s “Teas”. Melodious and interwoven throughout this mini-album are the lull-like tones of Deanna Varagona’s baritone sax exhalations. Sometimes an undulating piano line—played by Michael Krassner—can be heard punctuating against the textural rhythms tapped out by Gerald Dowd. Although only 19 minutes in length and operating in a stream of consciousness-like fashion, Down the Puppet String, Marionettes, captures a transitory world, whose bucolic plains and uncharted beaches are characteristic results as one awakens, diluted and immersed, such as from an afternoon reverie.
With Where Leaves Block the Sun, Bevel follows through with the promise that was made with its debut Turn the Furnace On. The new full-length is principal songwriter Via Nuon's electric pastoral folk music, which begins with a symbolic Dante-esque like descent into the wilderness. Through the foliage disguised music, rich and fascinating images interplay with dark and light scenarios giving a chiaroscuro effect and also a sense of cinematic progression. Though difficult to describe in sound, one might compare Bevel to the other worldliness music of Pearls before Swine, Brian Eno's experimental ambient period, or the climactic achievement of Popol Vuh's lush film soundtracks.
Twelve uneasy pieces, these songs are rough and unhewn like the stones that make up an altar precipice. Bevel is theAn unpolished document, TURN THE FURNACE ON exists in the same moody and emotional climate as Yoko Ono's SEASON OF GLASS and Red House Painters' OCEAN BEACH. Not so unlike Skip Spence's OAR, TURN THE FURNACE ON is the product of a man who has for years existed in the public eye only as a member of a greater whole (Nuon being a core member of the Richmond, Virginia, group Drunk, as well as an occasional member of Chicago-based Manishevitz; Spence with San Francisco's Moby Grape). Like Oar, TURN THE FURNACE ON is the sort of creative watershed which begs the listener to re-examine the works done by the artist in his more well-known group and experience his effects there more acutely, with more regard for the subtle force of personality which has rightly been made more evident. name of a character in modern Southern literature.Turn the Furnace on is the debut album by Bevel, and it is a feat of beauty. Conceived, composed and captured almost entirely by one man, Via Nuon, Bevel's TURN THE FURNACE ON is a subtle work of solitary triumph. Few albums created by the hands of one succeed in leaving such an indelible impression of personality. Most solo artists -- especially those of such minimal design -- are required the span of a career to leave their mark on the ever-evolving body of song. But with TURN THE FURNACE ON Bevel distinguishes Via Nuon as a brave new voice in folk form.