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Bevel



Guitarist Via Nuon is the second member of Drunk, the pensive folk-rock group from Richmond, Virginia, to emerge with a solo project (frontman Richard Alverson was the first, under the moniker Spokane). The name Nuon chose for his project -- Bevel -- seems oddly appropriate; though he reportedly named Bevel for a character in Southern fiction, the name calls to mind the slants and inclines of beveled edges. Nothing in this music is flush, nothing is square; it is willfully ambiguous and incomplete.

As Bevel, Nuon continues to pursue the wistful Appalachian folk sound that characterizes his other band. His songs are gentle, marked by a deep, damp melancholy sadness. The songs' arrangements are minimal, often little more than a fingerpicked acoustic guitar, a mournful fiddle here, a bluesy harmonica there, soft accents of percussion throughout. Nuon's singing is off-key and amateurish, not unlike a slightly less histrionic Will Oldham, lending the music an odd kind of authenticity. But neither his lack of singing prowess nor his reluctance to get loud and dramatic prevents him from infusing his songs with a remarkable richness of emotion.

Nuon's first solo effort is called Turn the Furnace On. It features the raspy, wavery "Presence," the opening song, and also the gothic fiddle- and piano-driven number, "Trench." 2001 saw the release of Bevel's second full-length, Where The Leaves Block The Sun, which contains the tracks "Lamp Post" and "Prologue of the Recalcitrance."