Sumner McKane | Two If By Sea

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Rock: Instrumental Rock Easy Listening: Mature Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Two If By Sea

by Sumner McKane

guitar based instrumental ambient american
Genre: Rock: Instrumental Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Mighty Damariscotta
4:14 $0.99
2. Shackelton
2:42 $0.99
3. Under Water Disorientation
2:40 $0.99
4. No Land Lights or Birds
3:47 $0.99
5. Rogue Wave
4:20 $0.99
6. Hello Harriet or Charlotte We Love You
3:04 $0.99
7. The King's Pines
3:28 $0.99
8. She Lived Where the Road Turned to Dirt
4:03 $0.99
9. Bring Your Mask and Snorkel
3:05 $0.99
10. Is the Boat Moving or Is It Me
3:42 $0.99
11. She Rests At 60 Fathoms
3:00 $0.99
12. The Morning in the Rain At Magens Bay
13:59 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Sumner McKane, a talented guitarist and composer currently based in Maine, has released an incredible album filled with skillful guitar playing, beautiful chord progressions, and a slight country vibe. Two If By Sea is an extraordinarily subtle record, one whose layered guitar parts and careful melodies will grow on the listener increasingly with each listen.

McKane’s guitar playing has a timeless quality to it, but is nonetheless unique. Even more impressive is the fact that everything on the record aside from the bass lines were played by Sumner McKane himself. Having spent the last decade as a touring guitar player in various country acts, Sumner’s finger-picking style has an unmistakable country feel, justifying his claim of playing “ambient Americana.” This record is amazingly different from most of what we hear these days.

The guitar playing and production is marked by diverse, yet subtle use of effects pedals, and it is certainly a defining element of McKane's sound, giving his guitar tone distinct and recognizable textures. Unlike most “post-rock” or instrumental acts, Sumner’s use of effects is not to compensate for lack of technical skills, nor does he employ repetition and effects in order to build tension. Instead, the effects are understated and often imperceptible. In “Rogue Wave,” for instance, the guitar is clean on the left speaker, but the delay appears on the right. He makes excellent use of stereo speakers, and this is a record that is sure to reward fans of headphone records. Guitar players and studio engineers especially will be blown away by this record. The bass playing also demonstrates how important a good bass player can be. Joshua Robbins' bass lines perfectly augment McKane’s multi-layered guitar playing, giving the record a groove it may otherwise lack. The percussion is understated to the point where the listener may forget it’s there, adding just the bear minimum to the soundscape. This is a good thing, however, as it doesn’t detract from the rhythm, and the guitar playing remains the centerpiece of the album.

The album opens to the sound of seagulls, bells, and waves gently crashing on the shoreline as the guitar quietly comes in and lulls the listener as if being rocked on those same waves. Although the record has some weak transitions between songs, this isn’t a serious setback. Not every album needs to be a coherent collection of tracks. Despite that, the vibe of the music is at times reminiscent of KC Accidental/early BSS. The subtlety of the chord changes and the upbeat and chill rhythms will appeal to fans of Tortoise, as well as DMST.

Two If By Sea is a mix of styles, incorporating country and jazz vibes with progressive rock. The use of percussion, brushes, and noise are perfectly arranged with (what are probably) hundreds of guitar parts, synths, and other tones. Here are aural moods and soundscapes at their best, capturing all ends of the spectrum of American music. This is uplifting music, without the cheese or predictability. One can immediately perceive the sincerity with which this record was crafted. Climaxes in songs such as “Bring Your Mask and Snorkel” are some of the most skillfully orchestrated in the indie world. It’s shame that this record will probably never reach a wide audience, but one gets the impression that Two if By Sea was made by someone who is happy just making music.

-Joseph Sannicandro



to write a review

James Shellhorn

Slow, Relaxing. CD shows McKane's variety.
Sumner McKane shows a variety of styles and keeps them mellow and beautiful sounding. Such CLARITY! I cant get enough of that really slow extra-reverb guitar. LUV tracks 2,3,7 and 12.
Very pretty and deeply soothing!

Bruce Rhine

Great background music for dinner, etc.
First heard on Echoes live interview. Liked the resonance effect on guitar. Plan to use on sailboat for dinner/candlelight evenings with company!

Morton Denison

Two If By Sea
My wife heard a part of this album some time ago. We don't remember where, unfortunately. Now, she really enjoys listening to it whenever she likes. Very well done!