Steffen Basho-Junghans – The Dancer on The Hill

When it comes to guitar soli music, few artists possess the finesse and precision of Steffen Basho-Junghans, particularly on his latest album, The Dancer on The Hill.

Released on vinyl last month through Architects of Harmonic Rooms & Records, this record shines with astonishingly intricate fantasias and fluid ragas that absolutely spark with life. While the music here is certainly inspired by the studious work of Steffen’s namesake, Robbie Basho, it strikes off into a totally different direction that sounds more akin with what you could hear out in nature..

Songs like “Brazil” and “Eagle Dreaming” are rich bouquets of melodic fingerpicked lines that branch off and flail like diverting tendrils of ivy. While unaccompanied, Basho-Junghans utilizes the deep resonating qualities of his Lakewood 12-string and a custom made double-bottom 6-string guitar to give these tracks a backdrop of thunderous reverberations, which tend to drone and rumble like gusting winds and raging rivers. At times, he’s able to produce so much sound and at such a loud volume, you’d swear he’s backed by at least three additional musicians.

Perhaps the biggest impression one gets from listening to this album is Basho-Junghans has mastered the ability to perform methodically without losing the impression of loose freedom gained by free improvisation. Just listen to how fast and intricate the fingerpicking is on “Southern Dance,” or the combination of fierce percussive strumming with hyper soloing on tracks like “Rainbow Dancer.” Each note is plucked with meticulous care and obvious intention, and yet there’s an unrestrained feral-like quality to his playing at the same time. It’s a rare treat to hear a guitarist master and blend together an academic playing style with a fierce sense of wildness. This record is indeed proof of just how hard Basho-Junghans has worked on and studied his craft.

An astonishing record from the first note to the final fade-out, The Dancer on The Hill is an exquisite gem for anyone who appreciates fine solo guitar music. Get your copy today right here.

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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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