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Alexander Turnquist - JPop.com
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Alexander Turnquist

Alexander Turnquist

Alexander Turnquist


Faint at the Loudest Hour" is the astonishing solo debut by guitarist Alexander Turnquist, part of a young generation of guitar players who have taken their incredible virtuosity and turned it into something actually worth listening to. Like James Blackshaw, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, et al., this could roughly be described as "raga" guitar, with its long, modal compositions and hypnotic overtone play. Unlike most of his peers, however, Turnquist employs a variety of extended techniques a la Hans Reichel Read more on Last.fm
Faint at the Loudest Hour" is the astonishing solo debut by guitarist Alexander Turnquist, part of a young generation of guitar players who have taken their incredible virtuosity and turned it into something actually worth listening to. Like James Blackshaw, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, et al., this could roughly be described as "raga" guitar, with its long, modal compositions and hypnotic overtone play. Unlike most of his peers, however, Turnquist employs a variety of extended techniques a la Hans Reichel, grappling the strings with both hands and using a variety of approaches and attacks on both the steel and wood. There's also a distinct lack of audible "roots" influence here, with Turnquist sidestepping the Fahey-isms that dominate so much current acoustic guitar music. Along with the six- and twelve-string acoustics, Turnquist makes subtle use of electronic textures, such as the surprising Fennesz-like dissolve that occurs midway through "Amongst a Swarm of Hummingbirds".

Faint at the Loudest Hour was recorded by Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, Liam Singer, many others) with cinematic depth and detail. Well, here comes another one of those Takoma-inspired solo acoustic guitar albums. It's getting increasingly difficult to talk about the genre with any sort of meaning nowadays given that the spectrum of sounds within this particular school tend to be so heavily constricted. Of course, there are leading lights who mark themselves out as singular talents: Sir Richard Bishop, Jack Rose and James Blackshaw being the big, obvious trinity of contemporary acoustic virtuosos. While each of those players has been successful in stamping out their respective voices on the instrument, there remains a large number of lesser known players operating in the same field who get wrongfully lost in the crowd.

It's understandable as to why that might be - how many post-Fahey open-tuned fingerpickers does your record collection need? Well, Alexander Turnquist certainly has his merits. Although his technique slightly lacks the evenness and effortless fluency you'd hear from Rose or Blackshaw, he more than compensates with his impassioned, often aggressive assault on the strings. 'Mime Fight' proves to be especially revelatory, the guitarist taking time out from more run of the mill picking duties and instead opting for some warped percussive workouts. Beyond the actual playing, it's worth listening out for some of Turnquist's quirks in presenting his material.

Halfway through the chiming raga of 'Amongst A Swarm Of Hummingbirds' there's a bit of a Fennesz moment, Turnquist feeding his instrument through a tangle of granular plugins before emerging at the end with a reinvigorated, gallop to his string plucks. Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, Liam Singer) does a wonderful job of recording the album too, capturing every detail of Turnquist's forceful performance. I guess there's room for one more in that 'solo guitar' section of your record collection afterall. Read more on Last.fm.

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