FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Bachman

Step Right Up: Daniel Bachman

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Born and raised in the town of Fredericksburg in Virginia, Daniel Bachman (whose guitar playing style has been dubbed “psychedelic appalachia”) is a guitarist of prodigious talent. This summer Bachman completed a hugely successful tour of Europe and will recommence touring his homeland when he tours the east coast of America this August.

Illustration & Words: Craig Carry

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At only twenty-two years of age, Virginia-born Daniel Bachman has quietly established himself as one of the finest guitarists around. Listening to Bachman on record brings to mind an array of artists (from John Fahey to Mark Fosson and from William Tyler to Glenn Jones) and similarly transports the listener to a faraway space and time in a deeply engaging and enriching manner. Fittingly, Daniel shared the stage with both William Tyler and Mark Fosson last year while on his U.S. tour (Fosson joined him for the length of the tour while Tyler joined him while playing at his home of Nashville). Despite his tender age, Bachman has already released a lot of material of his own solo material. Formerly going under the pseudonym “Sacred Harp”, Bachman has been recording under his own name for the last couple of years. Bachman has released a multitude of material including tape cassette releases and strictly limited capacity material. His records “Oh Be Joyful” (released on the One Kind Favor label) and “Seven Pines” (put out by Tompkins Square) were both issued in 2012 and served to establish Bachman’s name in the minds of listeners in Europe as well as his native America.

My first time witnessing Daniel Bachman in a live setting was July 4th of this month. A sunny summer’s evening in the intimate setting of Gulpd Cafe (and organized by Plugd Records) served the perfect backdrop for the prodigious talents of Bachman. Witnessing the mastery of Bachman’s guitar playing (very much in the same mould as the “American Primitive” school as advocated by John Fahey in the late 50’s and 60’s) is an absolute joy to savor. Seeing first hand the masterful technique he has honed over the years is a sight to behold. Whether quietly plucking notes (where the notes are left to linger for a time) or strumming intricately picking out notes in a forceful-yet-emotive manner, the music at all times conveys such real feeling and true artistry. Seeing one musician making such incredibly dense, textured and nuanced work on his own is something to truly marvel at, and reminded me of seeing William Tyler perform solo this year (while on his “Practically Friends” tour alongside M.C. Taylor’s Hiss Golden Messenger) where a myriad of feelings and a vast array of impressions are cast upon the listener. The guitar and guitarist become one. And the listener is truly fortunate to witness such an inspiring occasion.

In fact, like Tyler, I listen to Bachman’s work as a storyteller. Despite having no words to tell, the music seems to communicate rich and immersive stories from experiences made by the artist who wishes to share, in turn, those poignant memories with us, the listeners. In fact, I feel words would only lessen the impact. We would suddenly have a particular idea or theme in our minds, whereas on listening to Bachman’s creations our imaginations can conjure up any number of themes, feelings, experiences. Listening to “Seven Pines” (the wonderful title-track or the sublime “Mount Olive Cohoke”) and “Oh Be Joyful” brings to mind scenes from Wim Wenders’ classic road movie “Paris Texas” where a man at odds with the world wanders the desert landscape under Ry Cooder’s evocative score. Additionally, I feel there is also a wonderful connection between such music as Bachman’s and that of the photobook, particularly such road trips across America made frozen in time by Robert Frank in his 1958 classic “The Americans.” Armed with a 35mm Leica, Frank traversed the length of the country by car and – through eighty-three finally selected photographs – Frank redefined photography in the process. His poetic pictures were created through his off-kilter, intuitive and immediate style. Such intuitive and immediate styles certainly can be seen in Bachman’s art also where it feels (listening to Bachman live and on record) that he’s creating the pieces almost as he plays them where sparks of creativity and raw honesty can be felt – and admired greatly – on every single note that is played.

Fittingly, “Seven Pines” was issued last year by independent label Tompkins Square, a label who had previously released such classic records as William Tyler’s “Behold The Spirit” and Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Poor Moon” (not to forget the aforementioned Mark Fosson and his classic Fahey sessions “Digging In The Dust”). The album was based around Bachman’s experiences made from living and working in Philadelphia over the course of a twelve-month spell. The resulting seven heavenly pieces of music hint at a wide array of feelings and experiences, from intense abandon and exhilaration to dazed wonderment and acute homesickness. A real sense of place is conjured up in each and every recording.

Bachman’s steel fingerstyle guitar playing is sure to only further establish his rightful place as one of the most exciting musical talents around as he continues on his beautiful journey.

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“Seven Pines” is out now on Tompkins Square. “Oh Be Joyful” is out now on One Kind Favor and reissued on cd/digital by Debacle Records. 

Daniel Bachman tours USA this August (All tour dates are here)

http://www.tompkinssquare.com
http://www.onekindfavor.net
http://debaclerecords.bandcamp.com/album/oh-be-joyful

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Ten Mile Stereo

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Glenn Jones “My Garden State” (Thrill Jockey)
One of the hidden gems of the year so far came courtesy of the forever dependable Thrill Jockey Label; Glenn Jones’s “My Garden State”, an album of understated and fragile beauty. The album was written in Jones’s family home in Northern Jersey prior to the sale of the house due to his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. A strong spirit of memory and nostalgia are evoked throughout. Glenn Jones’s guitar playing prowess is (as ever) on full display where a deep sense of warm intimacy and a myriad of feelings are captured effortlessly. The album features sisters Laura and Meg Baird on accompaniment and was recorded in the home studio of Les and Laura Baird in New Jersey, keeping with the album’s Garden State theme.

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John Murry “Miss Magdalena” (Forthcoming LP)
“The Graceless Age”, John Murry’s debut solo LP, was a deeply moving and a life-affirming experience. Written after Murry had overdosed on heroin and was left clinically dead, “The Graceless Age” is an album of pain and suffering, while – ultimately – one that exudes a moving spirit of redemption and hope while Murry’s soul is laid bare. “Miss Magdalena” would see the light of day while Murry – and band – toured extensively this spring and summer in both Europe and the US. The song will be released on forthcoming LP and follow-up to the internationally-acclaimed “The Graceless Age”. John is currently recording the follow-up and has appealed for funding on his kickstarter initiative (ONLY 36 HOURS TO GO!) with many special prizes on offer: All details on Kickstarter here.

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Daniel Bachman “Seven Pines” (Tompkins Square)
My first time discovering Virginia-born Daniel Bachman came courtesy of an intimate performance at Cork’s Gulpd Cafe courtesy of Plugd Records where Bachman showcased material from his current Tompkins Square LP “Seven Pines”. Bachman’s guitar playing is astonishing to witness and all the more astonishing to behold in a live setting. The album was written over a 12 month period while living in Philadelphia and shares the same spirit of William Tyler’s “Behold The Spirit” as well as such guitar luminaries as Roy Harper and John Fahey. At only 22 years of age, Daniel Bachman has the world at his feet.

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Torres “Torres” (Self-Released)
Released at the beginning of the year, Mackenzie Scott’s Torres’ self titled album is one of the year’s outstanding achievements. Mackenzie hails from Nashville, Tennessee and – like Bachman – is only 22 years of age. The album’s ten songs are direct and stark and continue to linger long after repeated listens. The album recalls Sharon Van Etten’s personal and affecting songs – where folk, indie and rock traditions merge wonderfully with Mackenzie’s stunning voice.

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Charles Bradley “Victim Of Love” (Dunham Records)
Few albums have garnered such wide cross-over appeal as soul maverick Bradley’s stunning “Victim Of Love” LP. Released on Dunham – a label belonging to the legendary Daptone Records label – “Victim Of Love” is a modern-day soul masterpiece. Bradley’s amazing “success” story (and, indeed, remarkable backstory) has kindled a spark in many a music fan’s heart over the last year or two (similar in some respects to last year’s celebration of the legendary Sixto Rodriguez) and has captured the imaginations of people across musical genres – and generations. As Bradley writes in the album’s inlay: “To all of you with God’s love. Thank you. I love you always. Charles Bradley. P.S. See you soon.”

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KÖLSCH “1977” (Kompakt)
I only recently came across the incredible talents of Copenhagen’s KÖLSCH (via the wonderful musical institution that is Galway-based An Taobh Tuathail) and “1977” has provided a constant source of headphone listening for the small hours ever since. KÖLSCH is Rune Reilly Kölsch, a renowned producer who has been responsible for a whole host of records under various monikers over the last fifteen years, most notably the internationally successful dancefloor hit “Calabria” from 2003. Kölsch ran his own monthly Club Smile parties at VEGA Natklub in Copenhagen, while also running bimonthly parties at legendary Culture box.

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Tree “Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out” (Creative Control)
My first introduction to the incredible “Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out” LP came courtesy of Pitchfork’s Overlooked Records list for 2013. Tree is the alias for Chicago rapper/producer Tremaine “Tree” Johnson. The album is a hip hop tour-de-force featuring a myriad of inspired samples including Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Fallin In Love” (as Johnson says on the intro to “The King”, “I had to go get The King for this one”). The sheer range of sounds serves to recall those wonderful “mixtape” vibes from DJ Shadow’s seminal “The Private Press” LP. Lyrically, the album is as powerful as they can come, featuring tracks of raw power delivered straight from the soul of Johnson.

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Karen Gwyer “Needs Continuum” (No Pain In Pop)
From the incredible drum/bass/synth opening of “Sugar Tots”, the nine tracks on “Needs Continuum” showcases the wonderful talents and breathtaking sounds of London-based Karen Gwyer. Released this year on the wonderfully eclectic and ever-reliable “polystylistic” independent label No Pain In Pop, also based in London. My current favourite is “Lentil” which begins with softly textured vocal layers before gradually building to a stunning, ethereal and multi-layered climax. Also available is a remix EP of Gwyer’s “Needs Continuum” featuring Toronto’s Doom Squad, Not Not Fun’s Samantha Glass and Australian Neon Pulse.

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Sorcha Richardson “Sleep Will Set Me Free” (Self-Released)
I first crossed paths with Sorcha Richardson courtesy of the Irish Times’ “The Ticket”. Delving into Richardson’s stunning songbook has proved an unforgettable experience. The Dublin-born composer – now based in New York – has recorded a number of E.P’s to date (including the mesmerizing “Sleep Will Set Me Free” EP), containing fragile folk treasures recalling such spirits as Karen Dalton, David Pajo, Vashti Bunyan and Lisa Germano. Whether featuring arrangements of guitar or piano, it is Richardson’s poetic and truly captivating lyrics and breathtaking vocal delivery that casts such a deeply affecting spell on the listener, one which will never be broken.

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Minutemen “Double Nickels On The Dime” (SST)
An album that proved a key catalyst for Calexico’s Joey Burns on his musical journey (the band often cover both “Corona” and “Jesus and Tequila” live), Minutemen’s “Double Nickels On The Dime” album was released on the legendary Californian independent label SST in 1984 and continues to inspire new generations of musicians. The double album, containing a stunning 45 songs, was the third studio LP released by the band who consisted of D. Boon, Mike Watt and George Hurley. Tragically, in December of 1985, Boon was killed in a van accident. However, Boon’s legacy and Minutemen’s songbook will live on forever.

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