Wolfgang Muthspiel


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Lab assistant Igor pointed out a miraculous coordination of random events in that the weather outside was exactly the same as the weather illustrated throughout the cover art of guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel's fine Solo at the exact moment the 2004 recording was being listened to. The image is obviously all-important to the design of this recording, being the only one that appears on a total of six different disc-size display areas. An insert displays the guitarist himself in two photographic settings, amidst a lot of electronic gadgetry and outside in what appears to be worsening weather. The blue skies on the Muthspiel Solo cover, also visible out the small slit of a lab window, were not what attracted Igor to the project. That would have had to have been the first name "Wolfgang" and the possibility that this was a descendent of the same Muthspiel family the assistant had known back in his home village, prior to being run out by, of course, a mob of peasants with torches. Music such as this guitarist makes has a calming effect on Igor, as it could conceivably have on an angry mob, slowly causing a shift between unpleasant and pleasant thoughts. "Tabla Groove" and "My Own" reveal what seems like an Ornette Coleman influence in Muthspiel's lines. The same could be said for the fascinating "Beauty," although that also brings a wide range of jazz guitar influences into direct play. "Tabla Groove" really is a remarkable performance, surely suggesting the thrill of a real tabla accompaniment. In "Django," Muthspiel slows down and funks up a musical style known more for speed, agility, and sentimentality; it is a brave performance, but not all of the percussive clicking attacks are pleasant to the ear. One of the best qualities present throughout -- whether the performances are slow laments, bicycle rides over the flatlands with a "Bird's Eye View," or country-boy reflections suitable for a merry outdoor festival -- is the remarkable palette of guitar language, sometimes unexpected appropriations, dropped, dripped, and slopped hither and yon with the casual bravery of a painter who proved his point a long time ago. The guitarist's tone is clear and sharp in the high register; on the bottom end, "Glow" is lit with the kind of light burbling associated with bassist Eberhard Weber. Elsewhere the guitarist accompanies himself, pinning down his flow of attractive ideas with the sharpness of his full range of technical abilities.

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