Michael Hedges


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Over time, Michael Hedges' recording approach and guitar technique had morphed to include all sorts of gadgetry and inspired technical innovations. Each new disc introduced new musical and thematic elements to the guitarist's vast repertoire. This attention to innovative detail isn't as pronounced on Oracle, but it would be untrue to describe the disc as representing a creative stasis. On an album that is mostly instrumental and generally concerned more with melody than thematic cohesion and quirky technical breakthroughs, Hedges relies on his past offerings and simplest musical instincts for inspiration, and the results are splendid. After having the stolen homemade instrument he used to write and record his groundbreaking debut, Breakfast in the Field, returned to him in 1995, Hedges used the guitar as a guiding light, leading the way toward a return to a more musical and less technical musical style. Standouts include the simplified Zappa cover "Sofa No. 1" and the gentle guitar manifestoes "The 2nd Law" and "Oracle" but, as fans would expect, this offering is consistent in its quality, and rare in its musical commitment.

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