CandyRat is a blazingly hot label featuring a new crop of guitarists destined to be regarded as some of the best of the moment, hopefully longer. I've reviewed the very talented Antoine DuFour before (here), and this DVD has him along with two label compadres. The set opens with Peter Ciluzzi, who favors a mellower approach, more a Towner-ish chamber sound rich with harmonics and a fair amount of the tapping so common to the new wave. Ciluzzi's pieces are short but tasty, classicalist in intent but a good deal more modern than any Romantic composer. Music for a rainy night or overcast day, the cuts are evocative, not toe-tapping; impressions, not delineations, and neither urgent nor ennervated but perhaps a skosh too brief for their own good. His body-tapping and string dampings are subtle, very occasionally the slightest bit outré, always returning right back to the pastelline etchings set moodily in the fog and lowering day.
Craig D'Andrea is a different case. Starting a good deal more energetically in complex patterns, in Crazy is Catching he combines thumb flatpicking with fingerpicking, taking to unorthodox chord fanning with picked patterns and repetitious motifs, creating a serial style that's not minimal but definitely hypnotic. As his cuts progress, it's obvious the guy's much more chordally based, anchoring the broader sound into his runs, which are also dense, revolving around the base like seagulls wheeling above tidewaters. In some ways, D'Andrea has taken to Kottke but tossed out the slurs and inhumanly tweaked inflections, preferring a base that's secretly almost medieval…not like Fahey though there are certain distant affinities. He doesn't go in for tapping, but then he doesn't need to: there's an elder air in his playing that wouldn't be served well enough by the mode. The bright tempo and somewhat airier presentation of Guess Who's My Favorite? somewhat unhinges all that save that D'Andrea sticks to a baseline temperament despite what might otherwise have drifted into hi-toned New Agery. By the time you make it to Morrison County, you understand why he's on a label with Andy McKee.
Antoine DuFour has a bit more swing to his work, an underlying organic pulse that carries the melodies along like a river glinting in the sun, undulating ever oceanward. His work fits between Ciluzzi's and D'Andrea's in presence and tempo—where D'Andrea is commanding, DuFour steps back a pace or two; where Ciluzzi's atmospheric, DuFour fills in the spaces, the backgrounds. He's here sometimes a little more thoughtful than on his Existence release, measured, august, as though wanting to ponder the effects more fully before launching back into involved wheeling matrices. A Hiding Place for the Moon features some clever tapping, giving the viewer insight as to why the audio releases sometimes sound like there are two players present (t'ain't the case, Magee!).
These presentations are not unlike the YouTube style videos but sharper, with better fades…and ultra-pristine sound. The music works just as well visually as engrossing audio fare but watching these guys lets you know just how far guitar playing has come in the last decade or so and how blatantly and how subtly the mechanics have changed.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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