Dean McPhee and his solo electric guitar pieces hail physically from West Yorkshire, but musically they reach much further, reaching into and acknowledging guitar traditions of Morocco and North America. Fatima’s Hand is full of wonder, not to mention space: McPhee certainly knows how to leave a note hanging. On Hood Faire.
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- Fatima's Hand by Dean McPhee
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 10 June 2015
Dean McPhee has lived in some desolate places from the barren bleakness of Scotland to the wild moors of East Lancashire and is now settled in West Yorkshire. This carries through to his music which is evocative and haunting.
A singular guitar stretches and snakes around coiling its Eastern-influenced melodies across the vinyl. Despite comparisons to John Fahey I’m finding this a much different proposition and nearer to some of the solo guitar of Sir Richard Bishop. The tone of the guitar doesn’t seem to change throughout and McPhee never clutters his compositions - notes hang in the air with just the right amount of reverb. Looking at his background I was imagining an album that would somehow transport me out into the wild and windy moors of the Pennines but these slow moving pieces are more evocative of hot hazy deserts and distant sun ravaged foreign lands. Sometimes the drones approach Expo 70 like levels of intensity especially on the 9 minute fug of ‘Effigy of Clay’ and the Fripp/Eno collaborations are also brought to mind.
Overall this is one for the smokesters, for the droners and for the meditators and far away from rain-lashed northern hills with only the Durutti Column-like trills of the closing title track being any reference at all to his upbringing.
8/10 Basket Press Customer review, 4th August 2015
Oh, lovely, lovely, lovely!
One man, a guitar, some echo/delay lines, a bit of feedback: just my kind of thing!
Hints of John Martyn, electric John Fahey or even "Nocturnes" era Rainer are present in the use of the echo effects and delays to layer the sounds of the guitar, repeat and reinforce phrases and melodies, but without the blues influences of Rainer or Fahey or the folky jazziness of Martyn. As pensive and weightless as Robin Guthrie's solo work or his collaborations with Harold Budd, while having a character distinctly its own. On the first 3 pieces the North African or Middle Eastern influences are more apparent - I suppose the title of the album was a clue really - as per some recent Sir Richard Bishop. However the shade of "No Pussyfooting" period Robert Fripp announces itself on "Effigies of Clay" with the use of longer, feedback drenched, legato lines. And then we head back to the less tonal eastern end of the Mediterranean for the closing title track and the circle is complete.
I wanted it to be longer...
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