Here, Daniel Bachman picks up his acoustic guitar (and puts down his burger and fries, judging by the cover art) and jams out some gorgeously detailed Fahey-esque instrumentals, sometimes accompanying himself with a touch of vocals: if you’re luck, throat-singing. Miscellaneous Ephemera and Other Bullshit is on Feeding Tube.
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- Miscellaneous Ephemera and Other Bullshit by Daniel Bachman
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First, let’s judge a book quite verily by its cover and do a little case study into the album art for ‘Miscellaneous Ephemera and Other Bullshit’. With the gorgeously dipping and diving mountainside on his back cover and a pretty shit looking burger experience on the front, Daniel Bachman proves himself to be a lover of serenity but also a connoisseur of dirge. In his music, he’s the very same, like if Richard Youngs took a stab at being John Fahey in his snarkiest moment, and lost himself on the ascent to primitive beauty. Bachman is playing instrumental ditties here to rival both the most technical and emotive guitar player in this field, but he isn’t afraid to throw some manure on proceedings.
In many ways, what Bachman does here is typical of American primitivists who’ve come before him, but he layers little surprises in among these pieces, both amusing and astounding. The banjo-touting and guitar-strumming “Julie Anne Johnson” is a rapid fire instrumental based around its picked patterns, but Bachman interpolates chords so subliminal you feel like you’ve dreamt them. On “Nandina” he comes in with a throaty groan before building a gnarly, distantly plucked tune, before strumming absent-mindedly into a lush mush of ambience.
Bachman is a great guitarist of a few good styles, but he also isn’t reverent to the traditions: “Old Country Rock Etc…” sounds like a cheerful Ralph McTell ditty before it falls apart and Bachman just yells “fuck!” over nonsense tunings. So yes, primitivism is all well and good, but if you want Bachman’s advice, it’s this: next time you travel out to the countryside, kick a tree.
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