The CandyRat label continues to be a major modern exponent of innovative and intelligent new guitar music, concentrating on solo acoustic work that displays either rich harmonic content or dazzling dexterity, often both. Stefano Barone falls more within the former category, a very apt player but someone who truly knows how to invoke a simple melody and rhythm, building to achieve a composition that, as in the title track, breaks to contrast itself, switching from an almost Reich-ish phase shift to catty jazz-lines and laybacks while interpolating the "theme" (elemental components tend to fuzz up a bit in works pushing boundaries).
Stefano Barone wields an acoustic guitar, fingerpicking and strumming in a post-Kottke style rooted in Americana but greatly evolved, bringing in European classical elements and New Instrumental strains. Like the CandyRat mainstays, he's laboring beyond what outfits like ECM started, veering away from Towner, more to some of what Gismonti was evolving and occasionally the material Windham Hill tentatively espoused. Tracks like "Batman", however, bridge many gaps between Hedges, Fripp & Eno (the light side), Tibbetts, and others. It's an entrancing song, airy and light-infused, the sort of composition that could go on for an hour and lull the listener to blissful repose.
Minimalaction ushers a bit of experimentation into the picture. Firmly based in Reichian technique, it builds, achieving a complex repeating set of patterns and leads written for up to 12 guitars but performed solo with a multitrack machine. Just like Reich's, Glass', and Adams' minimalist compositions, it pulls the listener along as though a mermaid gently ululating amid swelling waves, and, by the time the disc finishes out, it's obvious that CandyRat has located and recruited yet another top-flight musician, someone who will be a significant figure.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles