Where Endless Meets Disappearing: Solo Guitar 2009

by: Henry Kaiser

Where Endless Meets Disappearing is subtitled Solo Guitar 2009, but that doesn't even hint at the wealth of different guitar sounds included. Henry Kaiser is a musical polyglot, fluent in any musical situation from free improv with Asian master musicians to burning Miles Davis workouts to covering the Mamas & the Papas or "Theme to the Andy Griffith Show." His guitar can sound like a guitar...or it can sound like bells, organ, sitar, a swarm of bees, an explosion, or practically any other stringed instrument you can imagine. This album covers virtually every aspect of Kaiser's solo playing, from Derek Bailey-isms to pretty John Fahey-esque acoustic pieces and, perhaps best of all, his return to It's a Wonderful Life-style improvisation with two old digital delays (a style he basically abandoned for almost two decades). He uses overdubs on four tracks, improvising duets with himself. There are minute-long miniatures and ten-plus-minute explorations. It's all quite brilliant. The title track unfolds like a raga; Kaiser's patience and pacing are sublime. The acoustic pieces like "Topic A" and "Regarding Proximity" are lovely. His control of harmonics and whammy technique is on display on "I Would Ask," while "The Gate Is That Way, Not This" wouldn't be out of place on a Halloween scary sounds compilation. Other highlights are "Three Can Keep a Secret, If Two Are Dead" and "A Bloom of Tiny Suns," where he uses a thick, saturated Robert Fripp guitar tone to overdub solos over his delay accompanied improvs. They're similar in concept to some of Fripp's live Frippertronics work, but Kaiser's playing is so different and distinctive that they have a very different flavor. Where Endless Meets Disappearing is a fantastic album that would serve as the perfect introduction to Kaiser's solo material. ~ Sean Westergaard

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