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Pierre Bensusan: Altiplanos

Jim Santella By

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Guitarist Pierre Bensusan creates a gentle mood on this, his tenth solo album. Applying fingerstyle technique to soft ballads and lyrical ramblings, he sets his original compositions on the table for casual contemplation. Each piece flows smoothly with emotion, as a treasured folk song would carry out its purpose on its listening audience.

Singing in French, he tosses off a timeless message that carries its meaning to all corners of the world. All nations have this one experience in common: singing about life in general and our cares in particular. Bensusan reminds us that life has promise. Singing about it puts our minds at ease.

Bensusan's guitar can persuade. His gospel interpretation of "If Only You Knew" carries deep feeling. "Hymn 11" offers a gentle meditative remedy, while "Sylva" ("forest" in Latin) provides vivid impressions of a jungle, complete with electronic tampering and wordless vocals. With his brief jungle escapade, Bensusan immerses himself in a colorful scene that's painted with a variety of musical textures.

His heartfelt French vocals on "La Nuit des Météores" and "Demain dès L'Aube" carry a torch for sensual expression. Bensusan's smooth voice complements his delicate fingerstyle guitar presentation.

His scat singing and exotic guitar melodies take "Falafel à Montségur" to Algeria, Bensusan's birthplace. Slapping the body of his hollow guitar for effect, he derives a wide range of expressive characteristics. It's the album's high point.

"Chant de Nuit" returns to the session's formula of folk songs done up in a smooth jazz format. The artist leaves a lasting impression that runs smooth and gentle, while reminding us that this universal language reaches far and wide all over the world.


Track Listing: Sentimentales Pyromaniaques; La Dame de Clevedon; Sur un Fil; Altiplanos; Demain d

Personnel: Pierre Bensusan- guitar, vocals, whistling; Malherbe- douduk on "Tacita;" Benita- keyboards on "Tacita."

Title: Altiplanos | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Favored Nations

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