The legendary New York label ESP Disk has the debut solo album from Arborea man Buck Curran ready for release, and it certainly is a treat. Buck has an incredible way of handling a guitar, recalling 70’s British folk, Fahey-esque American styles and much more besides, and the vibe of the 60’s and 70’s hangs thick in the air of Immortal Light.
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- Immortal Light by Buck Curran
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I recently learned from a child that the American for notes is bucks. Who knew? This Buck however is an American guitarist and one half of Arborea. The obvious touchstones for this first solo work is the finger picking delight of John Fahey and Jack Rose though on the opening ‘Wayfaring Summer (reprise)’ the sound is full and lush with added banjo and string plucks. Had I been less lazy and read the sleeve notes before listening I would have been less surprised to hear vocals introduce the second piece ’New Moontide’. Buck’s low voiced murmuring certainly give a different, spectral appeal to the album making it sound more like the hippy folk of Pentangle or Espers. I’m happier with the purely instrumental tracks that seem less…cloying perhaps is not the right word but the instruments are allowed to breathe better.
Over on side B we get two lengthy pieces, the first of which ‘Andromeda’ for example is utterly captivating. The guitars are thick and gloopy with just the right amount of reverb to create an air of mystery. These are the moments in which I feel Curran excels. The closing ‘Immortal Light’ features the vocals of Shanti Deschaine and again is a ways away from the glorious guitar work found elsewhere being just a drone and ethereal vocals.
A mixed bag then and credit Curran for mixing things up a bit and using different textures but I feel his strengths are in the simpler guitar led side of things but there is enough here to showcase his talents.
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