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Wooden Guitar by Various Artists

Wooden Guitar is a collection of five tracks by four contemporary acoustic guitarists, all of whom confound the concept of easy musical boundaries, with the one common factor being their impressive dexterity on the unamplified guitar. The Sir Richard Bishop (of the ethno-improv/fusion outfit Sun City Girls) contribution "Corpuscle" is subtly redolent of medieval music (especially) and traditional British Isles folk music with a whiff of Spanish classical guitar music. Jack Rose’s lush, cyclic "Red Horse II" (a play on Hendrix’s "Red House"?) is the "easiest" listen here - it’s loaded with stately charm and quiet, deceptively casual assurance. Steffen Basho-Junghans’ engrossing "A North Thuringian Raga" mixes Indian raga with sprightly country blues finger-picking (smacking of the Piedmont style, i.e., Cephas & Wiggins, Blind Boy Fuller) - it’s reminiscent of John Fahey at his best, and his minimalist miniature "Smiling Penguins" sounds like Leo Kottke playing Steve Reich. However, Tetuzi Akiyama’s 20-minute "Time Between" is an interminable dollop of melody- and rhythm-free, meandering avant-posturing - while his parched, brittle yet meditative technique is fascinating, this piece’s content is rather negligible. But hey, four out of five tracks are not bad odds, and the quality of the (very) good outweighs the pitfalls of the less-than-good. The only real gripe I have is the absence of any liner notes.... but I guess that’s what the ‘net is for. Fans of Fahey, Kottke, Sandy Bull and Ralph Towner are mos def-ly urged to seek this ‘un out.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Various Artists
  • CD Title: Wooden Guitar
  • Genre: Folk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Locust
  • Rating: Four Stars
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