steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Erik Hinds

"Khonsay" CD


Genres: free jazz, improv

195 Three Oaks Drive
Athens GA 30607

Feb 9 - 15 2004

Guitarist Erik Hinds runs his own jazz, classical [and more] label, Solponticello. For years he's been purveying releases of excellent quality, including solo works of his own design and material from his other band, SS Puft. With Khonsay, we see Erik working with a number of his companions, who contribute guitar, trumpet, percussion, and more. These eleven tracks are comprised of three main compositions: a brief opener, "Coronach," and then the several parts of the "Diorama Octet" and the "Individuation Suite."

I will now state, simply, that I was very surprised by how much I liked this album. Typically, though this is a genre I do quite enjoy, I find myself quite picky about things. But it took me little more than the opening melodies of "Coronach" to confirm my pleasure listening to Khonsay. When the "Diorama Octet" begun, it was clear I had found something that would stay in my stereo for the long haul. Over the duration of four tracks, Hinds and his octet rummage through an interesting selection of melodies and cultural influences. "Settlement" and "Brainstorm" are Basho-Junghans-esque instrumental folk pieces [the former boasts some trumpet accompaniment], while "Affirmation" is an almost eerie instrumental drums/guitar track and "Onward" seems to put a bit more emphasis on Jeff Crouch's trumpet playing and Blake Helton's percussion. The "Individuation Suite" has a more complete sound due to a bit more emphasis on the bass - "Acceptance," the suite's final part, starts with a full, jazzy sound and then goes into complex experimental, instrumental folk [think Eugene Chadbourne] before skimming through free jazz territory and finishing with a pretty, melodic finale.

Khonsay is a very rewarding album, and though its tracks are primarily instrumentals, they are still extraordinarily accessible. Give this album a try; it's worth more than a few.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2002]