476

Jim McAuley: Gongfarmer 18

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
For a musician whose formidable technique and imagination require denials of overdubbing, guitarist Jim McAuley has long maintained a low profile. Thanks to Vinny Golia, that's about to change with Nine Winds' release of Gongfarmer 18, an explosive calling card that vaporizes notions of what an acoustic guitar can do beautifully. McAuley accomplishes his transformations via unique tunings, blazing harmonic insight, and the internal compass of a veteran sailor. Smear fast-fretted blurs into the tapestry envisioned by Kio Griffith's rich cover graphic. When his blues roots surface, McAuley suggests John Fahey in a Tim Burton movie.

Yet, for all the innovation and surprise, the collection often succeeds the most during interludes of resonant reveries that seductively draw the listener in. Serenity tempers the segments of intense virtuosity.

McAuley's detuning during Dark Blooming gives his classical guitar the sound of a sarod. Briskly blunted strings sing percussive bumps under his steady paddle-wheel picking. The brief "Stately Chords lovingly introduces the twelve-string in a musing miniature. The first of two pieces dedicated to John Carter, "Blues for Wally Blanchette (1), takes blues contrivances and curls them into new shapes. "Eyelids of the Buddha stages a dazzling trip, McAuley blistering the twelve-string, only to sink into a melting coda. He gives himself a strenuous workout on "1+2, then follows up with the gently exquisite "Nika's Waltz, an anniversary piece for his wife.

On "Kneebounce, McAuley's Marquette prepared parlor guitar becomes a busy sound catalogue with ample illustrations. Creating harpish tones for "Sulustar Sipsihiilere (Whisper of Stars), he picks a shimmery soundtrack for ice crystals, while "Before Thought offers agile precognitive runs. "Blues for Wally Blanchette (2) continues his fruitful expansions on the blues form, wringing the new from the familiar. Ending with the enigmatic "Stone Cone, McAuley weaves a song that seems to unravel as it's being formed.

Ringingly recorded by Scott Fraser to catch the full spectrum of McAuley's sonic pallette, Gongfarmer 18 indelibly marks the versatile guitarist as a musician with few peers and innumerable ideas.


Track Listing: Dark Blooming; Stately Chords; Blues for Wally Blanchette (1); Eyelids of Buddha; 1+2; Nika's Waltz; Kneebounce; Sulustar Sipsihiilere (Whisper of Stars); Before Thought; Blues for Wally Blanchette (2); Stone Cone.

Personnel: Jim McAuley: Ramirez classical guitar, Guild 12 string guitar, Collings steel string guitar, Marquette prepared parlor guitar. No overdubs.

Title: Gongfarmer 18 | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Nine Winds Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "3rio" CD/LP/Track Review 3rio
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Two" CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "A Beautiful Story" CD/LP/Track Review A Beautiful Story
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.