Matthew J. Rolin - The Dreaming Bridge 2xLP
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"... The Ohio-based guitarist's artistic leaps in recent years are rivaled only by those of Daniel Bachman, another once-precocious player formerly in the John Fahey / Jack Rose mold who has over the years transcended the idiom to create his own singular, deeply personal music. Rolin's latest LP, the double album The Dreaming Bridge, makes similar strides. For many practitioners of this style, the first and perhaps most challenging feat is to escape the gargantuan shadow of Fahey. Some do this by adding other instruments or field recordings to their DADGAD ruminations; some opt to play electric. Of course, Fahey did all of those things, too. Better still to have not been directly influenced by Fahey in the first place: Rolin's initial embrace of the acoustic guitar was inspired not by Fahey himself, but rather by Fahey-influenced guitarists like polymath Jim O'Rourke and trickster prodigy Ryley Walker. This vicarious influence is exemplified by Rolin's distinctive, at times irreverent approach to guitar soli. While the influence of Walker's nimble 12-string probing is evident on tunes like Rolin's impressionistic '10:30 AM,' and while the guitarist's patiently unfolding, contemplative 'Weeping Willow' indeed recalls O'Rourke's masterpiece Happy Days, Rolin remains very much his own man, with his own idiosyncratic approach. This is clear from the first notes of The Dreaming Bridge's opening track 'Pinhole,' which introduces Rolin's affinity for shimmering, almost choral, reverb, the effect doubling as a compositional element. Similarly, on the overtone-rich 'Drown,' Rolin's virtuosic playing is practically a duet with its own echo, an effect deployed not to obscure, but to buoy. This deep attention to atmosphere serves a crucial function on The Dreaming Bridge, which sparkles throughout with a strident, Zen-like focus Then there are the tunes themselves. Terrific tunes! Like William Tyler -- another possible influence -- Rolin, despite largely working from the necessarily limited palette of instrumental solo guitar music, thinks like a songwriter. This more traditional approach can be heard on tracks like 'Moonlight' and 'Backyard Blues' which follow a compositional logic complete with verses and choruses. Rolin performs these compositions beautifully; as a player he is dexterous and dynamic, with a light and agile touch reminiscent of early Will Ackerman or Alex De Grassi. Album highlight 'Hallucinations' features saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi's keening, double tracked reed work, which at times simulates the sound of two violins playing cat and mouse between the stereo channels..." --James Toth Also features Entourage, Shadowfax, and Jen Powers.