Well here's something Michael Hedges never thought of. Trevor Gordon Hall, in his Candyrat debut disc, Entelechy (the mysterious fundament driving sentient creatures from potentiality to full existential exaltation, or that embodied final stage itself), has mounted a kalimba on the soundboard of his acoustic guitar so that the sound issuing off the African instrument's tines travels through the guitar body in resonance with the axe's steel strings, lending a richness beyond the exotic finger-piano's norms. And yes, like all the sublimely meta-talented Candyrat artists, Hall plays both simultaneously. Sounds impossible, I know, especially once you've laid an ear to any of the songs here, but travel to his home page (http://www.trevorgordonhall.com/home.html) and you can watch him do it. Unreal.
Unless you've spent an ungodly amount of time honing your craft, arriving at an estate echoing ECM, Windham Hill, Oregon (the group, not the state), and the hallmark new chamber music icons, you can forget trying to get noticed by Candyrat, a label remarkably distinctive. Hall's work is fully formed and mature, entrancing for its melodic content and finger-wrenching acumen (catch some of the chords this guy grabs so fluidly!), but exceedingly naturalistic for all its complexities and shifting flows. Even when waxing a bit abstract, as in the title track, the effect is of wheeling kestrels, windchimes, soft breezes, and melodious happenstance.
This is not to say that Hall can't whip up skirling rondos and zephyrs, he's quite capable of that, but the tone and set of this disc are overarchingly of an antiquarian's pastorally Byzantine craftwork, a small museum of contemplative wonders rather than the blaring shout of the pedestrian ruck. Much delicacy abides, a good deal of interwoven quietude and harmonic richness, but the disc is not without its backbone and sinews as well. And you can see why such work baffles critics and even marketers; it can't be pigeonholed. 'NuInstrumental', 'contemporary instrumental', and so on, but what it really is, is neoclassical, exercises extending what Yepes, Tarrega, and others were doing.
The guitar has always been vilified, the red-headed stepchild of the ever-reactionary conservative realm of classical music. It still is. Go ahead, name me just four major modern classical pieces written with guitar, especially acoustic guitar, as the centerpiece. Ya can't, unless you're a college professor teaching what Eno termed 'dead music', and even then good luck. As far as I can determine, this small body of modern work started with Jansch, Renbourn, Kottke, those cats, and it's unbelievably determined individuals like Hall and fellow Candyratters who have continued the practice most noticeably. Rockers ain't doin' it, jazzbos ditto, even classicalists harsh the gig, but here we have yet another example of the well-tempered, novo-tempered, and supra-tempered guitar manifesting in ways even the six-string sympathizers of yore could only dream of.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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