Duo's guitar instrumentals evoke desert landscapes and the spaghetti western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone

El Bueno y El Malo by Hermanos Gutiérrez
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Alejandro and Estevan Gutiérrez (Larry Niehues photo)


Duo’s guitar instrumentals evoke desert landscapes and spaghetti western soundtracks

The Swiss-Ecuadorian brother act Hermanos Gutiérrez ply their brand of chill and spare reverb-tinged guitar by taking pages out of spaghetti western film composer Ennio Moriconne’s songbook. The prolific Morricone wrote more than 400 movie soundtracks and is best known for his work on Sergio Leone’s films including A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The title of the Gutiérrez duo’s latest collection, El Bueno y El Malo, which translates to “the good and the bad”, pays homage to his inspiration (while skipping “the ugly”).

“We just wanted to have a fun project,” Alejandro told Rolling Stone last month. “While working and writing, we had a melody that reminded us of Ennio Morricone … So we thought, this could be fun, it fits to our style, the Western atmosphere we wanted to create.”

In their website biography Estevan says: “When Alejandro and I play together, it’s like we are taking a road trip. Sometimes we’re driving through a desert. Sometimes we’re travelling up the coast. But always we are in nature, and we see the most beautiful landscapes, sunrises, sunsets.”

On their fifth album the brothers continue with their standard formula using one classic guitar, and one Lap steel guitar: one lays down the rhythmic licks while the other fluidly winds its way over, under and through. On this collection they’re assisted by producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys who recommended subtle additions – congas, drums, castanets and small strings. Auerbach signed the duo to his Easy Eye Sound label this year and contributes guitar to the song Trés Hermanos.

With this recognition and wider distribution through his label, things are looking up for Hermanos Gutiérrez. They recently opened for Jason Isbell in Nashville and have a tour planned for 2023. Check out their easy and chill sound.

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19 November 2022


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Hermanos Gutiérrez ‘El Bueno y el Malo’ Is a Vividly Morricone-esque Take on Instrumental Rock

From Tortoise to Tarantino, from Khruangbin to Royal Arctic Institute, the spaghetti-western twang guitar has unexpectedly become a staple of the soundscape of the past 25 years, particularly for indie-leaning instrumental acts. And it’s basically the entire template for Zurich-based duo Hermanos Gutiérrez (consisting of guitarists and actual brothers Estevan and Alejandro), whose albums consist almost entirely of instrumental, heavily reverbed guitars creating that kind of film soundtrack-esque atmosphere and vibe.

The title of this, their fifth album is, of course, a nod to Sergio Leone’s legendary 1966 spaghetti western “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and especially its Ennio Morricone score.

While the format might sound limited, it’s not at all — the songs drift by in an unhurried, almost impressionist fashion, segueing gently from one to the next, with moments standing out more than individual songs. The brothers mix up the approach, with one anchoring the rhythm with a gentle arpeggio or bass-like melody, keeping time with a soft tap on the strings, while the other carries the main melody. Like their previous releases, it’s the kind of album you can put on and leave on all day, and the relatively amorphous nature of the songs helps make it not feel repetitive.