Levi Chen

Liquid Gardens Tao

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Levi Li Wei Chen can liberate heavens, sea, and earth with just one instrument, the Fender Stratocaster guitar (circa 1976). The album is inspired by poems from the classic Tao Te Ching, as translated by Chen's father Prof. Pi-Chao Chen. As the title suggests, Chen's solo sound portrait is watery. Lots of reverb, damping, sustains, and special electric guitar tricks offer pools and waves of sound. "Fail to Hear" even offers clacks that resemble rocks thrown together by the waves; other rocks seem to plunk in from high cliffs. Meanwhile, seagulls squawk overhead. With Chen's distinct meditative slant, the reality of the guitar disappears. Occasional surf or water sounds augment the recording, but otherwise Chen used no overdubs or synthesizers. His devotion to the possibilities of the instrument can be heard on two other albums, Celtic Zen and Meditations of My Soul.

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