Terra Guitarra is a nuevo flamenco duo—Bruce Hecksel (lead guitars, bass, keybords, percussion) and Julie Patchouli (rhythm guitars, percussion)—serving up a lush palette of compositions written by Hecksel (well, except a John Barry James Bond cut…which the duo turns into a happily wistful new kinda thing), all instrumental, and as dusky as a Catalan sunset. Hecksel knows his stuff, carries the chops, and gets a rich resonance out of his acoustic axes. Patchouli keeps him buoyed with a broad underpinning, and the two ornament every track with Latinate and other percussives.
This kind of music, though it was birthed in classical and proletarian strains, is fairly unclassifiable because people like Hecksel and Patchouli bring much to it, modernizing delightfully dusky old strains with new light and shadows. Even the progrockers, who normally would be all in for tackling such antique modes puzzlingly leave this genre alone, though Esperanto did a way cool slab (Last Tango) and of course McLaughlin, DiMeola, and DeLucia turned everything about the form upside down and inside out. Terra Guitarra, though, dwells exclusively in an updated fidelity to the moody baseline of the esteemed style.
Though Dragonfly works as background music—not for having a BBQ to or while the neighborhood kids are over for a frolic but rather as the sun turns crimson, setting into darkening horizons…it's actually a CD that needs to be listened to without distraction as the multiplicity of melodic inventions and lead lines in each track demand close attention for fullest appreciation. If you're into Ottmar Liebert and that ilk of novo-interpretationist, then you know whereof I speak, though Hecksel carries a weightier solemnity…and…he's a damned impressive graphic artist as well. The cover is one of his highly stylized, psychedelic, abstract-impressionist works, all of which are striking and imbued with a spiritual and visual component not all that far from Andy Lakey's (and I'm enraptured with Lakey's strange-angel stuff). Talented guy and, if it just so happens that he's as good a writer as he is in his other artistic pursuits…I may soon be out of a job!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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