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CD/LP/Track Review

Steffen Basho-Junghans: Song of the Earth

By Published: November 1, 2000
Steffen Basho-Junghans: Song of the Earth In this striking departure from the free/avant sound of other Sublingual material, guitarist Steffen Basho-Junghans operates his instrument in the continuum extending from Leo Kottke through John Fahey and Ralph Towner. On Song of the Earth, his fourth record and first American release, Junghans plays 6- and 12-string guitars. Using resonance and repetition to achieve an open, airy sound, Junghans explores the dimensions of harmonic space. Don't misunderstand: there's no wild improvised extroversion here, only measured contemplative introspection. Much of consists of simple held or repeated chords, with melodic overlays achieved by superimposed tapping or plucking. (Junghans retreats here from earlier experiments with altered tuning and nonstandard technique.)

Some might place this record in the dreaded category of New Age. Others might call it, to use Charlie Haden's phrase, "contemporary Americana." Ironically, Junghans was trapped in East Germany until the wall came down, relying upon only sporadically available recordings to satisfy his hunger for new music. Regardless, this is music without borders. Play it during contemplative moments; use it to relax after a long day of hectic concentration. Don't expect powerful dynamism or innovative harmonic experimentation— Song of the Earth relies upon unabashed gentle organicity to achieve its effects.

To borrow a quote from the CD box:
How can one sell the air?
—Chief Seattle


Track Listing: The Grand Entry; Red In The Rainbow; Song of the Earth; Sweet Moonlight Revelation; The Gates of Delight; Warrior's Lullaby; Silent Skies.

Personnel: Steffen Basho-Junghans, 6- and 12-string acoustic guitars.

Record Label: Sublingual Records

Style: Fringes of Jazz



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