Roger Smith

Extended Plays (1993-1996)

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Roger Smith is an improvisatory solo guitarist in a British tradition that extends back to Derek Bailey and Fred Frith; however, Smith's approach has none of the forbidding harshness of Bailey's and little of the timbral experimentalism of Frith's. He plays a classical guitar with no amplification and no physical modifications, so his music is very quiet. It's a quietude that draws the listener in by virtue of both the melodic complexity and the attractiveness of Smith's improvisations; though the muted, percussive tone that he often employs can be distracting at times, the melodic patterns themselves (which are often built on tritones) are almost always both intricate and lovely. This program consists primarily of long-form pieces, most named after the time of day in which they were recorded. "Two in the Afternoon" features Smith in a duet with flutist Neil Metcalfe, whose breathy jazz tone complements Smith's sound nicely; on "Early Summer Morning 1," you can hear a bird singing outside while Smith plays. It's one of the more endearing moments on a thoroughly lovely recording.

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