Tom Hamilton and Holly Bowling have revealed a new duo, Lacuna, and announced the release of a self-titled debut album out November 19th via Royal Potato Family. The Ghost Light bandmates will also take their ambient project on the road with six shows in New York, Colorado, and San Francisco.
The project was conceived in quarantine, during which time Hamilton and Bowling both pursued solo endeavors. For her part, the celebrated solo pianist drove across the country from her California home to visit family in Maine. Along the way, Bowling—expecting the birth of her first child—created an immersive livestream series The Wilderness Sessions, which saw her perform her lauded translations of Grateful Dead and Phish songs on solo piano in breathtaking locations across the country.
Meanwhile, Hamilton hunkered down in his Philadelphia studio known as The Ballroom. While there, he performed solo streams as well as reunited his high school band MORE! for the group’s first performance in over 20 years. As Bowling made her way back across the U.S. from Maine to California last summer, she dropped in on her friend Hamilton and the two hit the studio. With no game plan or direction, the two explored the sonic space together for the first time since before the pandemic.
“It was all very organic,” Hamilton said in a statement. “We hit save, she left, and we didn’t talk about it.”
The recordings sat on a hard drive until February 2021 when Hamilton revisited them and realized their worth. The resulting product, Lacuna, captures 46 minutes of ambient improvisation as the two bandmates reunited following an extended absence. Lacuna was recorded in one take with no overdubs as Hamilton and Bowling reverse-engineered the album, splitting the session up into eight tracks and giving them names.
“We were just playing to play,” Bowling said. “I was so intensely missing that spark and connection of playing music with someone else and having that back and forth. It was the happiest I had been in ages, even though the music sounds pretty dark in places, and it was definitely a very dark time. Tapping into that and then getting it out was cathartic.”
As for the title, it came from a book Bowling read during quarantine. When she saw the word “lacuna,” she looked up the definition to find it means “a gap, an unfilled space, or an intentional, extended passage in a musical work during which no notes are played.” Lacuna felt that this perfectly encapsulated their experiences as musicians during the COVID lockdown.
“I’ve felt more and more comfortable in those in-between spaces,” Bowling said. “That’s really where I’ve been wanting to spend my time, and with Lacuna, that’s the entire thing.”
Watch a preview of the new Tom Hamilton and Holly Bowling project Lacuna below and click here to pre-order the album. Scroll down to see a full tracklist and album artwork. The two have six concerts scheduled for November and December 2021 with a lone San Francisco date on March 5th, 2022, but plan to announce additional dates. Click here for tickets, on sale now.
Lacuna feat. Holly Bowling + Tom Hamilton
[Video: The Royal Potato Family]
1. Smile Pretty For The Camera
2. This Elevator Goes Up
3. Pavement Grass
4. Your Shadow Looms Large
6. The Swimmer
8. Exit This Way
Lacuna Tour Dates
11/26 – New York, NY – (Le) Poisson Rouge
11/27 – Philadelphia, PA – The Ballroom
12/17 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
12/18 – Beaver Creek, CO – Vilar Performing Arts Center
12/19 – Denver, CO – Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox (On Sale 9.24)
3/5/22 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel