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REVIEW

Paramita

Rev. Heng Sure & Friends

Rev. Heng Sure is a California based ordained

Buddhist and ‘Paramita’ is a combination of his love for folk songs and Buddhist scriptures. Throw in a superb musicians (Josh Michaell, Paul Hostetter, Robin Petrie, Alan Senauke and Brian Godchaux) and an eclectic choice of instruments (Alberico OM, Howe-Orme high strung parlor, Santa Cruz H13, hammered dulcimer, Givens mandolin) and you have a potent recipe for what he calls American Buddhist folk songs. The CD represents his efforts in creating a genre using classic American folk music and Buddhist themes. The melodies are at once recognisable but the lyrics provoke thought. Sometimes humorous, sometimes searching, the themes revolve around current and endless themes.

Mad Beef Cows, Oil, karma, all are covered in the 17 tracks on the album. The end product is highly polished but never losing that intimate connection between the artist and listener. Highly successful is the mix of instruments and musicians involved, with fiddle work, dulcimer and mandolin all playing in harmonious melody. Standout tracks include Earth Store with its haunting trace like melodies and Yashodhara, showcasing a complex fingerstyle composition blending with the telling of Prince Siddhartha’s journey.


GUITARBENCH P LAY E R S | LU T H I E R S | C O LLE C T O R S

ACOUSTIC&CLASSICAL

Issue 4 2012


GUITARBENCH EDITOR: Terence Tan CO-EDITOR: Jessica Pau SALES/MARKETING: Jessica Pau PROOFREADER: Doug Shaker Contributing Writers: El McMeen, Ken Bonfield, Jose Bernardo WEBSITES: guitarbench.com Our Online Magazine: www.guitarbench. com

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REVIEW

In Winter

Michael Manring & Kevin Kastning

Atmospheric, contemplative, introspective....

all describing our reactions to this offering from extended range guitarist Kevin Kastning and bass supremo Michael Manring. Both are masters of their unusual instruments- Manring designed the Zon Hyperbass which has an extended range and is capable of a myriad of altered tunings. Kastning uses the Contraguitar and a 12 string alto guitar also, of his own design to extend the range and voice beyond the norm. (Note: We recently interviewed Daniel Roberts, the luthier behind Kastning’s guitars, in Issue 2!) So when you take two avant grade musicians and collide them in a late Autumn/early Winter New England, you get ‘In Winter’.

Throw out the conventional compositions and melodies here. The tracks are all about mood and atmosphere. The extended tonal range allows for the two to play out improvisations, drawn out harmonics and endless shades of mood. We definitely felt the evocation of nature and introspective emotional searching. Much like the ECM recording of Abercombie and Towner, this is not a car CD and whilst not an immediately accessible album, certainly rewards listeners with an emotional, contemplative journey.


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REVIEW

Red Planet Arborea

If the name Arborea hasn’t registered in your

musical scape yet, don’t worry, it will soon. The duo of Buck and Shanti Curran has been earning a slew of accolades, from Rolling Stone to Acoustic Guitar, from Editor’s Picks to Best Under-the-Radar Albums.

‘Red Planet’ is actually the third offering from this band. Variously labelled as folk-trance to new folk, it is safe to say that the tracks here are a wondrous blend of a traditional folk voice, modernist minimalism and all wrapped around hypnotic melodies. With traditional instruments such as mandolins, guitars, ukes, dulcimers the more modern vocals of Shanti, windy and ethereal sings through.

Can you tell that we like their work? Let’s just say that the album gets a lot of play time here in the office. Standouts include the trance like interpretation of the very traditional folk ballard ‘Black is the Colour’ and Tim Buckley’s ‘Phantasmagoria in 2’. On the whole, Red Planet is somewhat like a mash up of the two albums we reviewed, take an introspective slightly avant-grade approach to a traditional folk voice and out will pop a richly textured, melodic but deeply emotional ten tracks.


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Guitarbench Magazine Issue 3. Reviews for Rev. Heng Sure, Michael Manring, Kevin Kastning & Arborea  

Find out more about the albumns from bench Magazine Issue 4. Reviews for Rev. Heng Sure, Michael Manring, Kevin Kastning & Arborea in this G...

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