Sunday, May 24, 2009

Peter Walker

Long Lost Tapes 1970 (04.09, Tompkins Square)

Byline: Totally blissed out Eastern leaning guitar ragas. See album cover.

For: John Fahey, Ravi Shankar, Chaz Prymek, James Blackshaw

"Oh, to experience cosmic bliss through the transcendency of the soul expanding act of striking universal chords through the corporeal body of the guitar." I am sure that is what Peter Walker was thinking as he sat cross legged, stocking footed, with a look of ecstatic joy on his face as he picked away on his guitar. If any album cover gave an indication of what was contained therein it is this one, and maybe Slayer's Reign in Blood. Just look how content he is! Peter Walker, the famed guitarist, ran in many important circles in the bohemian days of  the folk scene in New York, he worked with Timothy Leary, studied at the feet of Indian sitarists, and traveled upstate to record with the Band's Levon Helm, these six tracks of pure acoustic sweetness. Unfortunately, these tracks slept for almost 40 years only to be brought to the light of day in an oversaturated market of John Fahey covers contest. Looking back, however, these tracks are much more fleshed out and forward thinking than your typical new age bookstore employee with acrylic nails and a penchant for 8 + minute songs without slight variations in key or tone. No, Peter Walker wanderslust is apparent in each track as he travels from Indian ragas to new age freak outs complete with bongo drums, chimes, flutes and an assortment of crystals and other such paraphernalia. The result is less Shankar and more Niagara Falls-like expansive dreaminess. The musical technicality is Peter Walker on top of his game, from the exhausting guitar work of "city pulse" to the tranquil and evocative "Missing You", Peter Walker shows that solo guitar albums don't have to be studies in boredom for those of us without P.H.D's in music or the ability to totally zone out while listening to music.

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