Loren Connors

Airs

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Prior to releasing his seminal Portrait of a Soul, guitarist Loren MazzaCane Connors issued this 19-part suite with another work, "The Death of Shelley," tagged on to fill out the disc as a way of laying the ground for explicating the territory he was exploring. Airs is a series of deeply moving, sheer, and endlessly resonating miniatures that reflect Connors' own preoccupation at the time -- how to infuse his melodic ideas and distill them into emotional "paragraphs," communicating the fullness of a theme or emoted idea in a short space, utilizing as little of the guitar's color range as possible. This description may make these notions seem stifling and limited, but the result is anything but that. Connors is able to wring from these boundaried terrains such emotional depth and crystalline -- if not vulnerable -- vision as to make each small segment a communicating of the purity and multi-dimensionality of each emotion, from one world to the next, a full and complete statement in and of itself. The pieces inside Airs are short poems that open out onto a vast expanse that goes beyond sonic truth and engages the listener in the very place where she or he lives -- at the heart level. The final piece on the disc, "The Death of Shelley," refers to the drowning of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley during a storm. His body was found ten days later, and the only way he could be identified was by the copy of John Keats poems in his jacket pocket. That's the legend. Connors' piece is slow, brief, and dark; there are ominous sounds in the background, as if from the aftermath of thunder carried on the wind. Less than three minutes long, it is an elegiac tome, full of loss, regret, and sorrow. These two works are a whispering precursor, and the psychic foundations laid for the creation of the heart-searing Portrait of a Soul less than one year later.

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