George Christian - Some Instrumental Pieces for Guitar and [...], 2011, Boolean Records
I have to admit that I neglected to comment his first album that just didn't get into a territory I could connect with. Although, it had the existence as a concept music album which is exactly what I have done myself for my first songs album almost 10 years ago already. I was looking for this sort of possible connection, but applied to the music this time. After all, I noticed Christian and I share both this love for underground figures (Jandek can be heard a bit here), masters of electronic music and a bit of unusual pop music. I found in this album, nothing like that, but something else that I truly enjoy to a high degree, after listening to it many times already, always with the same intellectual fascination and honest "hearth "-felt.
Christian describes this album as a new start and he is right. All the evil drones are gone and the overall style and sound is much more focused and beautifully controlled this time. What remains is Christian's guitar rich “abstract-odd-hic” playing coming out in a really special and unique lo-fi sound that is a mixture of low bitrate mp3 (intentional under 320kbps) and synth-like alien findings in high frequencies that are also cleverly put under digital echo. All of this while Christian remains me a lot of the Father of the experimental American folk as played by John Fahey (and I know he is a big fan like me). Of course, a Christian only sounds like himself at this point of twisted comparisons.
Now, if something is true of new guitarists that are celebrated in electronic music these last years, is that they are in almost all cases, either completely sound oriented (better love your noise physical), Fennesz-related or they play it acoustic and melodic like John Fahey did with far more invention and ideas decades ago. I never was the biggest Fennesz fan (a few masterpieces on Endless Summer and that is it for me) and I always lose interest when I try to experience a pure wall of sound without intonation. But, any of these sound oriented guitarists (a lot to name) are obviously far more out there than these pale Fahey fanatics who play their 12 chords guitar like dissonance meant a death penalty the next day.
In this Christian's album, I find myself praying for more guitars !! It is a mixture of what I expected to hear from guitarists living in the 21th century. Yes, the finale piece is nice with tribal flutes. It also features an instrument that has only one sound on all the pieces I ever heard (the didgeridoo). The coherence with the other pieces is rather surprising to me. But, a 40 minutes album of guitars in front would certainly not be too much for Christian. With this collection, he is a striking figure of new music found on netlabels. He avoids the limited and “sacro-saint” pure sound oriented approach.
No philosophy that is narrow and self-limiting. Christian always explains really well his ideas about the music he loves, but let things open a lot, even in his tributes pieces, instead of explaining why he don't want to do his music a certain way — Fennesz certainly never wanted to show up on guitars, he always wanted to be the anti-guitar hero, but that too can be annoying at some point when you do it too intensely. For a change, all of these qualities perceived in a discourse can be heard in the music of the guitarist !
This Christian is not afraid to sound musical and actually have melodic building. The tones are strong, often in the fun of deconstructing patterns that have almost yet to be heard. Still, it is the beauty that comes to the ears, not the desire to deconstruct. The guitar playing shines through the sound research instead of letting the sound hides the original playing. And that is really important to me, that the original playing of the musicians never get lost. I think we make this mistake too often right now in music. We let technologies lead the way too much. These technologies are exciting, but never as much as our own resources as sound lovers, musicians and composers. Let us never forget that. This Christian didn't.
Vincent Berger Rond [2011.11.14]
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