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156 Strings: Nineteen Totally Original Acoustic Guitarists. (Briefly Noted).

156 Strings: Nineteen Totally Original Acoustic Guitarists. Cuneiform 163, 2002.

Henry Kaiser is one of the elder statesmen of avant-garde guitar, having played and recorded with such artists as Fred Frith, Diamanda Galas, Eugene Chadbourne, and Zoogz Rift (not to mention a few decidedly apres-garde artists, among them Michael Stipe, Richard Thompson, and Bob Weir), and having helped to set the explorational bar for experimental jazz and rock music throughout the 1970s. This album is a collection of brief acoustic performances by guitarists who, in Kaiser's estimation, "sound like themselves and have something special to say" (brochure notes). In some cases, such as "Access" by the always envelope-pushing Fred Frith and "Getting to Fifth Base" by Kaiser himself, this means exploding the boundaries of the instrument itself and drawing sounds that few would have thought possible from an acoustic guitar. In other cases, such as the beautiful slide playing of Peter Lang and the funk-soul derivations of Jean-Paul Bourelly, the music is unusually attractive without being technically or stylisti cally groundbreaking. And in just a few cases, the music sounds relatively pedestrian: Richard Thompson's pretty but unexciting "How Does Your Garden Grow?" is one such example. Overall, though, there is plenty of musical food for thought on this generous program, and this disc can be confidently recommended to any collection supporting a curriculum in guitar or experimental music.
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Author:Anderson, Rick
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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