As the cover infers in its Two Hands' One Guitar byline, this is solo fingerpicking—however, not of the norm, not oriented around 3-minute bases but rather very pleasing extensions and cerebral fantasias in melody extension and improv. I've included the times in the song listings below so the reader can appreciate just how far things go. In The Source, though the tone tends to a Hedges / DeGrassi / post-New Agey vibe, there's quite a decent infusion of old Bill Connors and of what John Abercrombie started doing in his Characters release (one of the best efforts he's ever published), not to mention a literate accounting of classical airs modernized.
Magic Brook has paid a lot of attention to what he's crafting, though the ambience is often of an easy and seemingly unaffected approach. Thus, the CD works in a marvelously soporific or balmily energetic mood, a shifting background haze of chamber sensibilities and instrumental environments, or as a disc to be more closely listened to. Your choice. The length of each cut opens the door to a number of playing techniques and thematic pursuits, but the atmosphere is of a stone veranda at Big Sur on a sunny afternoon in summer with a couple of bottles of beaujolais and serious music connoisseurs arrayed in wicker peacock chairs.
I've mentioned the CandyRat label quite a bit lately, and Magic Brook skates the edge of it clearly, oft veering more to classically infused jazz but very steeped in the direction modern acoustic guitar has been taking, prizing sophistication but not trickery or grandstanding. Technique and elasticity are the driving forces, elegance the mainline, and subtlety the reward for the dialed-in listener.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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