Music Review | posted 08.04.2021
Robbie Basho
The Art Of The Acoustic String Guitar 6 & 12
Gnome Life, 2021
Text Tim Caspar Boehme
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Cover Robbie Basho - The Art Of The Acoustic String Guitar 6 & 12

Among the representatives of American Primitivism, guitarist Robbie Basho was the most idiosyncratic. Strongly influenced by Indian ragas and with a keen interest in Asian culture as a whole – he chose his surname after the Japanese haiku poet Matsuo Bashō – the musician was long overshadowed by his colleague John Fahey. But the pioneer of the steel guitar, which he wanted to establish as a US concert instrument, was quietly influential with his adventurous folk music. In Germany, for example, guitarist Steffen Basho-Junghans has not only continued Basho’s tradition by adopting his name, he has also developed his ideas further. Now, one could talk about Robbie Basho’s crazy technique and the open tunings he used. But that can hardly describe the effect of his guitar studies with their psychedelic sailing melodies and figures circling around drones. »The Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12« was his 15th record, released in 1979 on Windham Hill, a label well versed in New Age matters. Basho’s music may well be esoteric with all its references to the Far East, but that should not be an obstacle, but rather a source of curiosity. And if it does, it is a friendly arcane knowledge that speaks from his sounds. Even when Basho sings. That may not be quite right for everyone. On the other hand, he does it very rarely. When in doubt, one must remain brave for a few bars. Otherwise you simply miss too much.

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