Posts Tagged ‘Morning Trip’

Daniel Hecht – Guitar

Each year that passes there are still corners of the musical consciousness to dig and redeliver to a waiting audience. The reissue label field is getting dense, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some genuine gems finding their way back out of the past. Daniel Hecht’s 1973 debut Guitar is just such a treasure that’s somehow evaded reissue until the tail end of last year. Hecht has the benefit of bridging the academic and field approach to the instrument. While he was classically trained in theory and composition, studying at the North Shore Conservatory in Illinois, he didn’t really begin his musical career until living on a commune years later, studying the works of Mississippi John Hurt and sitting in on conversations with Moondog, who would encourage him to record his guitar works.

He’d go on to record a few other records, with a couple winding up self-released on his own Dragon’s Egg imprint before finding camaraderie with John Fahey and releasing his final record on Windham Hill in 1980. Though his undisputed masterpiece remains this debut, a raw outpouring of country-folk, with a slightly complex edge simmering underneath its skin. The record has remained out of print, though not inescapable to collectors, since shortly after its release and now Telephone Explosion imprint Morning Trip are re-releasing it back rightfully into the racks alongside a new surge of acoustic pickers. For years I’ve heard Hecht’s name tossed among influences of players that strayed from the more usual fare and figurehead fingerpickers, but its nice to see this shared with a few new generations who might come to it with little knowledge other than its a beautiful piece that’s finally getting a proper due.



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Laaraji & Lyghte – Celestial Realms

In the past few years Laraaji has gone from something of a tightly traded name among New Age heads, experimental aficionados and yoga practitioners to a roundly celebrated artist with a wealth of material seeping back out into the reissue world. With entries into RVNG’s FRKWYS series and a collaboration with Brian Eno and Bill Laswell, he’s not light on stature, but it seems the current hunger for respite has driven the master of the zither further out into the light. There are plenty of points of entry for the curious among a catalog that’s decades deep, and none are more appropriate than his 1986 album with longtime collaborator Jonathan Goodman, aka Lyghte.

The original version of Celestial Realms was released to tape by New Age label Spirit Music, and it gets an upgrade here via Telephone Explosion’s brand-new offshoot Morning Trip. The album is two side-long tracks that delve deep into meditative trance. Lyghte provides the hypnotic bedrock that pins this to the mind – wavering and low, like the slow lap of a river. He leaves the sparkle to his foil Laraaji, who dazzles atop the drones with his Zither, bells, and guitars that predict the coming of Sun Araw’s psychedelic wobble long at a time when Stallones was more into silly putty than psilocybin.

The album is perfect not only for fans of vintage drone or New Age, but for those captivated by the dropout knockouts of more recent times – Emeralds, Kevin Drumm, Stars of the Lid fan take note and listen deep. It’s a great inaugural release for the fledgling label and perks my interest to see when Morning Trip goes from here. Whether you’re already scooping up the new and old issues from this NY legend or just want to unwind, a copy of Celestial Realms might be just the trick to block out the constant clatter of 2019.



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