Erhard Hirt

Acoustics

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German guitarist Erhard Hirt delivered a very nice one with Acoustics. The acoustic guitar is sometimes raw, at other times transformed through electronic treatments. The main opus here is "Acoustics," a piece in eight movements, for a total of 36 minutes, recorded in December 1996. "Intro" features untreated guitar and showcases Hirt's extended technique on the instrument. But as the piece moves from one section to another, treatments become heavier until it reaches "Loop" and "Laut" that use multiple guitars, some of them sounding like soundscapes, others getting a treatment close to musique concrète. The piece reverts to pure acoustics for "Reprise." An interesting exploration of the acoustic-electronic continuum, "Acoustics" has some strong moments. But Hirt's improvisational art is best featured on "Cuba," a 15-minute improv recorded in April 1998. The guitarist's personal style really comes through on this one. During the first ten minutes, his playing could be described as somewhere between Roger Smith and Eugene Chadbourne: delicate, thoughtful, but also twangy and imprecise. In the last five, strange electronics replace the guitar in a puzzling finale. A strong record.

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