Michael Hedges, ‘Because It’s There’.

Makes me want a harpguitar every time I hear it.

So. Ridiculously.  Lovely.

Pretty simple, by Hedges’ technical standards, but then he would have been the first to remind you that he never considered himself a guitarist, but rather a composer who happened to pick up the guitar.

Which might sound a bit like false modesty, except Michael Hedges.

Ewan Dobson, ‘Paganini’s Hip’.

I actually can’t quite remember how I first ran across Canadian guitarist Ewan Dobson–whether it was that he got a play on Pandora, or if I stumbled across him on YouTube at one point.  Little matter in the end;  I find a great deal of interest in what I’ve seen of him so far.

The fella has an enigmatic sense of humor that lends a lot to his credibility.  Just check out these three clips from a “method” video of his, in which he explains some of his influences.  (“Sauron must be praised!”)  In his YouTube presence in general, he’s known for goofy garb and backgrounds.  One certainly does not get the sense that he takes himself too seriously, which I find endearing.

And yet I find some of his stuff really compelling.  The one which inspired this post, “Paganini’s Hip”, is a piece I intend to study further:

Then there is this enigma “Acoustimetallus Plectrus”, which runs really hard up against the “too many ideas in one sitting” criticism, but which I find insistently interesting nevertheless:

And this tune “Marli”, as a completely different example, is just lovely.  (And, of course, makes me want a friggin’ twelve-string all over again!)

LATER:  Went in search of a six-string presentation of “Marli”.  Found one.

Still a lovely tune, but this thing seems made for octaves.  🙂

Michael Hedges, ‘Two Days Old’.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming, to contemplate just how much great music has been inspired by Michael Hedges’ pioneering efforts.

But, regardless of that, and regardless of the continued technical development that players are now demonstrating…there’s no denying that there was only one Michael Hedges.  I’d forgot how chillingly moving this clip of “Two Days Old”, from his last show at the Varsity Theatre in Palo Alto (before it closed), is.

Mesmerising.

Tobias Rauscher, ‘Still Awake’.

Somewhat by accident I stumbled upon this, which is for me a new entry in the Michael Hedges  “violent acoustic” genre.

Lots of elements there, for sure.  Compositionally, I still haven’t been totally grabbed yet, but it seems worth looking into further.  Bookmarked for exactly that purpose.  🙂

Chris Proctor, ‘War Games’.

I dig quite a bit of what Pandora has shown me of Chris Proctor.  “War Games” is quietly insistent, and representative of Proctor’s style.

Interestingly, when I found this clip of him playing it live,

I didn’t even notice the string-dampening gizmo he uses (immediately forward of the bridge, under the strings) until he rips it out mid-tune (1:42 on the timeline), which of course brightens everything up immediately.

Food for thought, indeed.  (And man, have I been craving a twelve-string lately.)

Bensusan, ‘Agadiramadan’.

Another point for Pandora radio, in putting this across my radar the first time–however long ago that was now.  The whole Intuite record seems a powerhouse effort, but this piece just seems to get special mention, quite possibly because of this clip here:

Wow!

Bensusan’s the complete package:  feel, improv, phrasing, composition, and the willingness to do Things You Aren’t Supposed To Do when playing “properly”.

Bookmarked!