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- At the Face by Hartmut Geerken
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Wow, I’ve really had a lot of weird stuff to write about today, partly thanks to the always good but quite often bonkers Holidays Records dropping “new” ones by this fella and Ghedalia Tazartes but also thanks to Pete Swanson & Brian Sullivan’s Beer Damage. Anyway, here’s professional oddball Hartmut Geerken with a very limited LP which has recordings of him playing Sun Ra’s legendary Sun Harp - given to him in Egypt in 1971 by the man himself as a guarantee for the money Hartmut lent him to fly back to the States.
Anyway, that money never came back to him and the Sun Harp was his so he made the recordings on the first side of this LP, full of splay-fingered, abstract picking that eventually builds up an hypnotic momentum by ‘Bandura #3’ before he’s joined by eight basses for the 13 minutes of abstract minimal madness that comprise the lengthy ‘At the Face’.
On the other side are three pieces for roll piano, titled ‘Sarakiniko #1-3’, which have a strangely alien feel to them as the notes dink themselves out with automatic precision in a studious chaos that sounds almost like the soundtrack to a particularly tense and surreal detective story. The relentless haphazard tinkling does get a bit much by the end though. I have to admit I struggle with this guy sometimes but if you’re into his style of cheeky free expression then you’ll probably really like this.
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