steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Steffen Basho-Junghans

"Rivers and Bridges" CD

Strange Attractors Audio House

Genres: ambient, experimental folk, meditation

Strange Attractors
PO Box 13007
Portland, OR 97213 USA

Mar 17 - 23 2003

After his tremendous success with Inside, Waters in Azure, and Landscapes in Exile, Basho-Junghans (who took part of his name from guitar virtuoso Robbie Basho) was faced with the ever-important new album.  Over his past records, he's explored the magical world of acoustic instrumental folk, taking numerous influences and styles to heart and mixing them into experimental guitar tapestries.  Rivers and Bridges continues in this tradition, incorporating many new sounds into Steffen's flawless playing.

The resulting album is an excellent choice for those who loved his previous work.  Dense, meditative layers of complex steel-string guitar are draped over the listener; every piece evokes feelings of relaxation and self-reflection.  The twenty minute opener, "The River Suite," played on an acoustic six-string, is a fascinating voyage into Steffen's world.  Influences from both the Western world and the Middle East are present; the melodies derive themselves from exotic East Indian music structures as much as they do from folky Americana.  Basho-Junghans can switch from key to key, note to note, without the listener batting an eye.  His style is magnificent.  By the time you've reached "The Takoma Bridge Incident," played on a twelve-string guitar, you're already deep in a musical trance.  His wonderful, dedicated playing never ceases to affect the listener.  And though the pieces may be long, and the music purely instrumental, it never becomes an exercise in arrogant experimental tedium.

Don't miss out on Rivers and Bridges.  Pick this up as soon as you can find it.  And if you haven't already, go track down the rest of Steffen's discography.  This is music that will never lose its beauty.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 6 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]