After a long period of silence due to health problems, and difficulties in finding a recording outlet for his work, German guitarist Steffen Basho-Junghans is back with a new album, released by the English label Architects of Harmonic Rooms & Records, only available on vinyl and as digital download, similar to what was done in 2009 for the album IS, the latest recorded so far by the guitarist.
Basho-Junghans' music has always oscillated between two poles, one more traditionally oriented and the other more avant-garde; the representation of sonic landscapes using the raga technique derived from guitarist Robbie Basho (whose memory he has strongly contributed to keeping alive, including in its name the same name of the Japanese poet used as a pseudonym by the American player) and the exploration of the experimental soundscape created with the six-or twelve-string guitar. The present work does not escape this dichotomy, but tries to merge the two poles in a more definite way than in the past, using the freer and experimental expressive forms within more ordered and compact compositional structures. The songs are also more concise than in the past; if the previous IS had three titles above 10 minutes, here most tracks range between three and five minutes in length, while the longest is eight minutes. This song, "Raga Peru," stands out as the best synthesis of all the guitar paths followed by Basho-Junghans since he embarked on his personal musical journey. A mention is also deserved by "Song of the Cordilleras," not present on the vinyl but available as one of the two exclusively digital bonuses, but all the songs deserve careful and repeated listening for the richness of their content.
In spite of his declared and always acknowledged debt to Robbie Basho, a source of continued and inexhaustible inspiration, the German guitar-player represents one of the most original and authentic voices in contemporary acoustic guitar, himself carrying out research that was started in the '60s by musicians such as Sandy Bull, John Fahey and Robbie Basho, as well as representing a new reference point for the younger generations of players. We hope to hear from him again soon, with further works of similar depth.
Rainbow Dancer; Raga Peru; The Dancer on the Hill; Dancing Mountains II; Brazil; Southern Dance; Eagle
Dreaming; Clear Night. Bonus digital-only tracks: Dancing Mountains III; Song of the Cordilleras.