Mason Lindahl takes solo guitar music well beyond its folk and blues roots, and approaches it instead from a classical and minimalist experimental frame of mind.
The NYC-based musician’s compositions are filled with brisk nylon flamenco fingerpicking and tight lyrical melodies, punctuated by brief, but tense moments of silence. His guitar work alternates between a clean acoustic sound that rings out pure as a bell, and a roughened, slightly distorted rumble on the album’s moodier pieces.
On every track, Lindahl appears to make a very clear and conscious decision for every note and every second of recording time. You get the feeling that there is absolutely no room for neither excess nor indulgence in his pieces. In this way, each song seems intensely rehearsed, but still beautifully executed, with plenty of impressive fretboard gymnastics. Just give a listen to the dazzling “Fantasy in Spectacle” for a rousing example of what I mean.
Much of the album is absurdly gorgeous and poetic, especially the title track, which aches with the yearning and tenderness of a George Winston ballad. However, where the record really excels is its moody and melancholic pieces, like the elaborate and wistful opening tune, “Sky Breaking, Clouds Falling.” With its multiple movements that, aided by the backing of a somber organ, swell and flow like a flock of birds riding stormy air currents, the song sounds closer to Tchaikovsky than Fahey.
For a truly unique entry into the American Primitive Guitar canon, preorder Kissing Rosy in the Rain from Tompkins Square ahead of its Friday release.