Daniel Heïkalo

Musique pour Guitare

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This is Daniel Heïkalo's best album to date. His previous self-produced efforts were quite interesting and original, but Musique pour Guitare moves a couple steps further, reaching for a new level of sheer beauty and artistic cohesion. The man is a very talented guitarist. The acoustic guitar (plain or prepared) is at the heart of each of the nine pieces presented here. Heïkalo's writing borrows a lot from folk techniques to develop its own realm of instrumental guitar music, highly melodic yet still demanding, pleasant yet full of surprises. And that's just the guitar parts. Another key dimension to this album is the use of electronic backdrops and metal percussion. The guitar sounds are often treated in parallel to form ghostly textural accompaniments that, through their warped sonics, emphasize the beauty of the guitar part and the agility of the performer. The percussion brings in a darker mood, as in "Dans les Sentiers Herbus de la Montagne Contaminée," and highlights the rhythmical structures of the pieces. Endroits Inquiétants had already showcased Heïkalo's talent as a self-taught musique concrète composer. Here, that side of his work becomes the stage set for his guitar playing. This is eons away from Gordon Giltrap or Leo Kottke, even though Heïkalo's approach yields surprisingly accessible tunes, if only the listener is willing to open up his ears a little in order to welcome them. Highlights are numerous, but "Pleine Lune de Saint Valentin" deserves a special mention. Evoking the best moments of Conventum's first album, with a touch of Harmonium and '70s French psychedelia (the bass recorder part), this piece deserves a place on an anthology of creative acoustic guitar music. Highly recommended, even though the album is very hard to locate.