Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tom Griesgraber, Bert Lams, Unnamed Lands

Unnamed Lands (ThosSounds) is a beautifully created dual acoustic (and electric) guitar album by Tom Griesgraber and Bert Lams. It begins with Walt Whitman's thought: "Of all those men and women that fill'd the unnamed lands, every one exists this hour here or elsewhere, invisible to us."

This is about our pre-history, our migrations in musical terms in a way, the life that existed for humanity before we gave much thought about it all, about posterity, enough to write down what was happening and how. And of course perhaps about things happening to those who could not write yet, or very well, to our often anonymous forebears.

It is a singularly beautiful album. The intricate guitar work, sometimes seemingly enhanced by a bit of overdubbing, has a sound that is a cross between contemporary folk and the contrapuntal sound that Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists favored. There are synth parts now and again that fit right in without taking away from the essentially homespun sound of the music, though there are moments that take on an ambient soundscape-ish quality.

So in other words there are at times some formally worked out compositional elements and at other times or alternatingly a folkish informality, an improvisational front-porch recital. But then again all of it seems pretty thoroughly worked out regardless of how it comes across. That of course is not a bad thing, especially when it works well as a totality, as it does here.

The fact that it all works and does so well has to do with these two player-inventors and their vision. They get a program together here that has real merit. It is all cosmically mellow, but never vapid or un-contentful.

So for these reasons I do recommend you hear it!

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