Written By Luke Hirst
Luke Hirst - All Instruments * execpt Roland SH101 by Grant Henderson
Recorded @ The Loom, Yorkshire
Engineered By Grant Henderson
This Is A Headphones Record. Listen To It In The Desert.
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Thirteen months after British guitarist, Luke Hirst, broke the Hex, he went to the studio to record some ideas he had over the year and released it as an album just the other day.
Desert Ditties is partly influenced by Hirst's travels through the United States and the desert seemed to impressed him the most.
The album starts with a sitar drone and backward guitar sounds that becomes overlayed by a nice guitar motif and strummed echoed chords. After 8 minutes Hirst plays an arabic sounding guitar theme and suddenly, with a bang, he's marching over it with military drums and an electric guitar riff. Then the 20 minutes opener slowly moves back how it started and dries out in ambient noise.
This already showed, something will be different with this album. He expanded his sonic palette and used overdubs.
The second track has a geographical reference as well, it's the Badwater Basin in the Death Valley National Park. According to Wikipedia, it's 282 feet/85.5 meter below sea level.
Hirst uses again some overdubs and studio trickery. I think the tremolo effect on the feedbacking guitar illustrates the shimmering of the desert heat pretty well. In the track embedded is a quote by Joseph Wood Krutsch:
Long before I ever saw the desert I was aware of the mystical overtones which the observation of nature made audible to me. But I have never been more frequently or more vividly aware of them than in connection with the desert phenomena.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
The Voice of the Desert, a Naturalist's Interpretation (1955, 1975), 216.
The third track "Chuckwalla" is a short and fun guitar rag.
The album closes with an electronic piece that's inspired by Steve Reich's "Electric Counterpoint".
Hirst also found a visual language for his releases, which I think is important to become visible and be recognized.
Highly recommended if contemporary guitar music strikes more than one chord in you!
Here is a version of Electric Counterpoint on acoustic guitar.
Electric Counterpoint is a minimalist composition written by American composer Steve Reich. The piece consists of three movements, "Fast," "Slow", and "Fast". The composer has offered two versions of the piece: one for electric guitar and tape (the tape part featuring two electric bass guitars and 7 electric guitars), and the other for an ensemble of guitar.
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