J.H. Guraj - Introspection / Migration
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'Introspection / Migration' approaches the geetar from an American Primitivist / folk blues tradition, but is very much its own thing - with a transportative Italo-Albanian mountain backdrop, chants recorded in Marrakesh, birdsong and distant rain, cymbals crashing, something called a nose-pipe (sounds well-used and rusted).
This isn't some virtuoso academic folky record (Fahey SMAHEY) or some exercise in Wire-approved 'field recording music'. The album unfolds dreamlike, alive with the feeling of sounds, hidden depths and the voices of ancestors moving the grass.
Huge recommendation for anyone with a beating human heart (that's most of you), it's simply one of the most stunning LPs of 2020. And one of the only plane-tickets out of this place.
PS Get you a label who can release this AND the cantankerous noise of Wisecrack....and get away with it.....only on our pals from Bologna, Maple Death
... We trust that this package is already on route to you by the time you've heard, and read this far, but if you're still hungry for more background info...
Here's what the label says:
"From an ocean of black, sometimes there is a slim chance you might emerge clean and translucent, with another life chapter under your belt and a renewed story to tell. J.H. Guraj, our favourite wandering bird, is back with his first proper opus on Maple Death: Introspection / Migration.
Sometimes records lead off into an unknown path that never considers release schedules or the outside world, inhabiting the abysses of the artists’ mind and dropping a hefty anchor in the murky waters. Dominique Vaccaro, stage name Guraj in homage to an old sage picker from the Albanian rocky landscape, started Introspection / Migration on a two day recording spree in 2014 using a resophonic guitar, a distinct unifying songbook theme and his usual freestyle wizardry … then the dust settled. In between releasing Underrated Glances At The Edge Of Town (Maple Death, 2016) ,Steadfast On Our Sand (Boring Machines, 2018), touring with Be My Delay and his experiments as Vaccaro Overlapped Memories (Tsss Tapes, 2019) and Close Distances (Dinzu Artefacts, 2018), his determination to finish this album never wandered.
Informed by his work over the last ten years as a visual artist and electro-acoustic musician, he kept chipping away, adding layers, sounds, field recordings, percussion while maintaining the pureness,soul and integrity of the original guitar recording; a five year long inner journey, a long drawn-out process of migration and settlement. The additions not only augment reality, they hyper-define it, a beautiful crisp photograph where an empty woven chair is ready to welcome you in through the rollicking Middle-Eastern theme ‘Furnace’; ‘Closer’ weaves and intersects with that loose tightness found in greats like Mick Turner and Loren Connors, while ‘Yet Still’ stumbles elegantly creating a suspension in time before crashing into a circular hail storm. ‘Migration’ is the perfect closing elegy, uplifted by men’s chants recorded in Marrakesh, a Western lament of rare beauty and timeless nature that feels present, comforting and fading at the same time.
The resophonic guitar used in the recordings now rests in Firmo, the small Arbëreshë town, buried deep amongst the hills of Italy’s most Southern region Calabria where the artists’ father resides. There is no burden of history in Guraj’s music, there is movement, resolution and exodus, a reassembling of the soul through instinctive and unique guitar-delia."
In case you didn't already gather:
We have big <3 for this record, and we think you will too.
4. Intro - Reprise
5. Dance And Death Of A Bird
7. Yet Still
8. Letting You Go