Robbie Basho

The Falconer's Arm, Vol. 1

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Five instrumentals, mostly performed on solo acoustic guitar (Susan Graubard played flute on "Tassajara"). It's a satisfying continuation of the ground Basho laid out on his first Takoma albums, playing dense -- often twelve-string, often busy -- guitar lines in unusual tunings influenced by both blues and Indian music. Basho frequently explores minor and modal moods, evoking blustery, rainy fall days, with leaves swirling around on the ground. Somber and serious, yes, but not quite depressed, although the melancholy pieces ("Lost Lagoon Suite" and "Tassajara") are the ones that make the most lasting impression. It's similar in some respects to labelmate John Fahey's work of the time, but not so much so that it sounds imitative or like a lesser derivation.