7 Books

Steffen Basho-Junghans

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7 Books Review

by Jason Nickey

Steffen Basho-Junghans wields his guitar like a divining rod on 7 Books. Sensitive to the subtle vibrations of his instrument, he patiently follows its lead to fresh wellsprings of inspiration. The innovations of Fahey, Sandy Bull, and Basho (whose name Junghans incorporated into his own years ago as a tribute to the master) make up the foundation here. But Basho-Junghans takes it a step further, shedding all but the most distant reference to the blues; these seven "books" sound more like traditional Indian ragas arranged for 12-string guitar and then filtered through a free jazz sensibility. String buzz and other such "mistakes" are used to create harmonic texture, and melody gives way to an almost mantra-like sense of repetition. The results are convincing, and Basho-Junghans is able to explore a surprisingly wide variety of moods over the course of the two-disc set -- from rollicking and celebratory to mournful and austere. Book "IV" even sounds like the guitar is throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler. With artists like Basho-Junghans plucking out fresh sonic discoveries, solo acoustic guitar music is in no danger of becoming a dry field barren of ideas anytime soon.

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