steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Harris Newman

"Non-Sequiturs" CD

Strange Attractors Audio House

Genres: instrumental folk, experimental folk

Strange Attractors
PO Box 13007
Portland OR

Feb 2 - 8 2004

Harris Newman is Strange Attractors' latest roster member, and like labelmate Steffen Basho-Junghans, his focus is on acoustic, experimental folk, la John Fahey and Eugene Chadbourne.  Though Newman is a Montrealer, and has ties to the Constellation label (Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fly Pan Am, One-Speed Bike, etc.), this album is far from the usual CST/Kranky fare.  Instead, Non-Sequiturs is a cozy, homey record that dares to experiment with the limitless possibilities the acoustic guitar has to offer.

The pieces on Non-Sequiturs are relatively short, falling below the five minute mark most of the time - with the exception of the fifteen minute epic, "Forest for the Trees."  As can predicted, this is also one of the album's best compositions; it sees Newman enlisting the help of pal Bruce Cawdron on percussion.  It is easy to see the connections between Newman and Basho-Junghans on this piece - their styles are similar such than a fan of one will likely also enjoy the other.

The great thing about Non-Sequiturs is the amazing atmospheres Newman creates, despite being armed with his acoustic guitar alone.  Anyone with an inkling of an attention span should be able to relate to these pieces, which range from mesmerizingly beautiful to beautifully mesmerizing.

Newman's Non-Sequiturs is a must for any sophisticated music enthusiast.  Words can't express how easily this album can find a permanent station in your three-disc CD player.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]