May 29, 2007

andrew king

There are few artists that sit between purely traditional music and experimentation. Alasdair Roberts on his recent 'No Earthly Man' album is such an artist (see review here) as is Andrew King. Andrew is a current vocalist in the traditional singer style and on his first album appeared without accompaniment. On this, his second album, he uses instrumentation but in a stark and individual way often reminding of the reed organ minimalist backing to Shirley Collins.
His voice and phrasing are powerful and would appeal to fans of Peter Bellamy, The Copper Family, Harry Cox and other source singers that came from the pre-folk music revival in origin. However the backing is a series of drone and looping pieces that carry forward the simple reed organs and accordions of previous eras. However often here they are often bringing new qualities to the music through subtle and occasional use of electronic layers. As a symbol of enduring suffering it is therefore likely that Andrew King has more profound intentions with this album than retelling the song traditions. It may reflect his own state or his belief that the common people have suffered at the hands of those in authority. But also perhaps he sees it as a way such as Parsifal did of bringing compassion ‘The Amfortas Wound represents the conflict inherent in our personality, the nature bound collective conscious and the desire to rise above it. The music then acts both as an exploration of this nature bound drive, of suffering and through it’s making also rises above them. The album itself is therefore a form of Amfortas Wound.
This tension sits at the heart of the music, unresolved but apparent. It is an uncompromising and fearless album but one that demands your full attention. Many people may find it barren or too minimalistic however it does exert a strong power and is a singular experience.

Andrew King suena como si Shirley Collins hubiese salido del infierno, a un David Thomas Broughton (pronto de visita en la aldea) desauciado, a un Ignatz deselectrificado y a haber pasado un temporada con Tara Burke en los bosques. Venido de la alta Edad Media, en su ceremonia de las festividades paganas sufre, hiere y maldice bajo la clave del experimental obscure british folk.

May 10, 2007

ben kunin

ben kunin - acoustic adventures (the communion label, 2002)

It's clear with guitarists like Ben Kunin, that the first generation of interesting guitarists is not the last. Where groundbreaking guitarists needed to delve and dig a bit harder, starting from more rough material and sounds to break their way through, the new generation has the advantage of their historical predecessor's views, with guitar heroes that work now like fathers, for their new guitar sons. These sons start from a much more comfortable situation. It gives them time for a refinement in style. No steel-string melodic exploration, but a tasteful nylon string, for pastoral, meditative and naturally sounding creations, like the clearest blend of all, water. Ben Kunin learned sarod at the famous Ali Akbar Khan school. His guitar technique has this perfectly integrated style derived from Indian raga and western improvisations scales, presenting nature's landscapes, with more clear and structured forms than in just an impressionistic way. We hear a western kind of raga guitar expressed as like an impression from a train, watching wide colourful farmland and natural landscapes passing by. Endless, but never really abstract. Only "Julie" has something of a song, in fingerpicking style.

bucólico, ca.
- adj. Dicho de un género de poesía o de una composición poética, por lo común dialogada: Que trata de cosas concernientes a los pastores o a la vida campestre.
- adj. Que evoca de modo idealizado el campo o la vida en el campo.

Poco más se puede añadir, adornar si eso, la pastoral belleza de sus ragas improvisados, los contados esbozos de fingerpicking, la mirada hacia un lejano oeste, hacia un paisaje infinito. Ben capta la conversaciones y sonidos del aire y de los árboles, de los animallilos e incluso historias de fantasmas que ya no asustan.

La tres suites pastoriles son poesía en libertad:
pastoral suite i
pastoral suite ii
pastoral suite iii