Steffen Basho Junghans 7 Books

Steffen Basho-Junghans’ steel string guitar, the traditional tool of western blues, drifts far, far east of its origins into a place where dragons likely rule. 7 Books is the sound of John Fahey collapsing upon himself and re-emerging as a pulsar. On disc one Basho-Junghans’ playing expresses speed, brevity and, ultimately, triumph through repetition and physicality of sound. Notes are choked off at their apex while the chording hand squeezes out rhythms. What appears minimalist is actually fraught with a variety of buzzing strings, overtone echoes, plucked fingerings which haunt every silence however brief. Disc two unleashes the other blues tool: the slide, which only serves to render the music even less blues-like. Nearly melodic progressions twist away from expected completion and into madhouse versions of themselves. The collision of steel on steel gives sparks of gamelan-like tuned percussion while the strings bend out detuned plaintive cries. The occasional sound of human hands on wood and metal are comforting reminders that someone is steering. (Strange Attractors)