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.