Alexander Turnquist: Hallway Of Mirrors LP
Third VHF album from this young New York-based guitarist/composer who continues to forge his own radical style to create a very resonant and enveloping acoustic sound, full of beautiful harmonic overtone interplay, all instruments sustained.
Alex's guitar approach revolves around a prodigious right-hand technique and a minimalist slant on composition that separates him from the retro-styling endemic to most current acoustic guitar music. Hallway of Mirrors uses much of the tonal palate from his previous record (As the Twilight Crane Dreams in Color, vhf#118) - dense 12-string finger-picking with vibraphone and piano carrying much of the melody.
On Hallway, the pieces are more concise with the added sweep of Christopher Tignor's elegant violin punctuating Alex's harmonics-laden forward motion and Matthew O'Koren's immaculate vibraphone (played with both mallets and bow). The additional instrumentation, inspired in part by Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians," provides an added focus in the music, signifying each change in tone and timbre. Recorded on analog tape using traditional automatic double tracking stereo mix techniques by engineers Henry Hirsch and Bram Tobey, the sound has an elegant soft focus that highlights Alex's strong and sharp performance. The centerpiece of the album, the 16 minute "Waiting at the Departure Gate," makes a sly nod in tribute to fellow VHF artist Jack Rose, who all too briefly explored similar techniques on his classic "Black Pearls." A truly uplifting and emotional listening experience.