Guitar Music That Drifts Into Dusk, Featuring Julianna Barwick : All Songs Considered Recording under the name North Americans, Patrick McDermott makes somber, meditative instrumental guitar music.
NPR logo Guitar Music That Drifts Into Dusk, Featuring Julianna Barwick

Guitar Music That Drifts Into Dusk, Featuring Julianna Barwick

Artwork detail from North Americans' new album, Going Steady. Brian Blomerth /Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Brian Blomerth /Courtesy of the artist

Artwork detail from North Americans' new album, Going Steady.

Brian Blomerth /Courtesy of the artist

Somewhere between dusk and nightfall, there's a point when the sky's deep reds and luminous notes of peach bleed into deep blues and silhouetted skylines. It's a somber, meditative medley of color, when the reflection of day turns dim; that's where the new record by Patrick McDermott, who records instrumental guitar music as North Americans, rests.

Going Steady is North Americans' third album, and it features a number of collaborators who've drifted in and out of McDermott's orbit as the co-owner of Driftless Recordings, including Hayden Pedigo and Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi. For the title track, the ambient composer Julianna Barwick is a quiet presence, her droning synths not so much buried as providing an amphibious bed for McDermott's calm, hypnotic interplay with Hand Habits guitarist Meg Duffy. For a piece that feels as if it could float away into nothing, "Going Steady" becomes the night.

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Going Steady comes out Sept. 7 via Driftless Recordings.