Archive for April, 2008

Praise for Imaginational Anthem

Friday, April 18th, 2008

“The single most significant body of solo acoustic guitar music to be published in the 21st century so far” – Boomkat

“Solo Acoustic Guitar music to get excited about” – Variety

“I struggle to recall any recent comps that glide together as seamlessly as these Tompkins Square projects, and “Volume Three” is no exception. Contemplative, intricate, a simple but ornate school of folk that hangs effortlessly between the ancient and the avant-garde . . . I could listen to this stuff all day.” – John Mulvey, UNCUT

“Tompkins Square’s Imaginational Anthem series has not just unearthed the continuing steel-string tradition, but made it relevant.” – eMusic

“Simply put, these are all essential recordings, they offer solid evidence of how the tradition continues from the ’60s to the present day in the same way that albums by Fahey, Kottke, Crandell, Lang, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and countless others picked up on the lineages of the previous decades from folk, blues, prison songs and mountain and church music foundations, and brought it forth, shifted and changed and added and subtracted. This box is the latest entry in the long long logbook. Get it.” – 4.5 / 5 stars, All Music Guide

“Taken as a whole, these three albums provide a comprehensive overview of the ongoing American Primitive movement, and will likely provide a large enough resevoir to tide you over handsomely should that acoustic guitar drought ever come.”
- Pitchfork

Imaginational Anthem box set – 4.5 star review – All Music Guide’s Thom Jurek

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Imaginational Anthem Vols 1-3 box set – 4 1/2 stars All Music Guide :

Quietly but quickly, New York City’s Tompkins Square label is amassing a formidable catalog of outsider music. They’ve taken their time but it’s been worth every glorious minute. They’ve reissued long-gone yet seminal works such as Robbie Basho’s Venus in Cancer and Harry Taussig’s 1965 private-press album Fate Is Only Once, as well as the incredible multiple-disc box set of vintage 78 and field recordings called People Take Warning: Murder Ballads & Songs of Disaster 1913-1938, in a killer package with an introduction by Tom Waits. In addition to reissues — there are sets by brilliant and celebrated but widely under-the-radar jazz visionaries such as guitar wizard Bern Nix (best known for his work with Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time), pianist Ran Blake, and saxophonist Charles Gayle. Mostly, however, Tompkins Square has become the Takoma Records of the 21st century, issuing album after album from lesser known but legendary visionaries such as Peter Walker, Charlie Louvin, and Spencer Moore to name just three. Finally, the imprint has begun an aggressive campaign of documenting and reissuing rare recordings — and new ones — by younger players whose names are whispered about in awe in the underground communities where limited-edition CD and vinyl works are de rigeur; namely those by multi-instrumentalist Shawn David McMillen and guitarist James Blackshaw. The latter has been a bit of a coup: Tompkins Square has introduced the British musician’s work to American ears by releasing his brilliant Cloud of Unknowing in 2007 and reissuing his catalog.

One of the great lynchpins in the Tompkins Square approach to introducing its artists to hipsters everywhere (as well as fans of great acoustic music) is its Imaginational Anthems series. This slipcase box contains the first three volumes in the series, released between 2005 and 2008. Assembled and annotated by label boss Josh Rosenthal, these volumes are as wonderfully and carefully assembled as any of the early Takoma samplers. He puts these beautiful slabs together in such a way that the listener is transported aurally and “imaginationally” into a world where time ceases to exist, and sound is simply the reach of space itself. No dimensions, it’s all around you, through you, and over you. Volume one contained works by Jack Rose, Taussig, the late Sandy Bull, John Fahey, Nix, Max Ochs, Kaki King, Gyan and Terry Riley (yes, that Terry Riley), Suni McGrath, and others. It is a startling, surprising collection of very rare and seminal tracks by fabled legends of yore, unknowns musical alchemists and, in King’s case, a young visionary, but it the disc holds together beautifully, casting its spell over the listener profoundly and completely. The second installment in the series brought us lauded latecomers like Jose Gonzalez, Blackshaw, and Christina Carter, and placed that music in the context of its architects: Basho, Brit folk iconoclast Michael Chapman, Peter Lang, Rose, Sharron Krauss, and more. It’s a stunner in its labyrinthine construction and Rosenthal’s selections are poignant and precise. Finally, the third volume in the series that concludes this box — keep an eye out, will be more — is a wild selection of the near mythical. There are cuts by underground five-string banjoist George Stavis, guitarist Mark Fossom, and Richard Crandell (whose recordings are coming back into print after decades hidden from view) as well as players that are either well known or should be, such as Basho disciple Steffen Basho-Junghans, McMillen, R. Keenan Lawler (a monster resonator guitar picker), Matt Baldwin, Cian Nugent (no relation to Terrible Ted), Ben Reynolds, and Greg Davis, to name a few. Simply put, these are all essential recordings, they offer solid evidence of how the tradition continues from the ’60s to the present day in the same way that albums by Fahey, Kottke, Crandell, Lang, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and countless others picked up on the lineages of the previous decades from folk, blues, prison songs and mountain and church music foundations, and brought it forth, shifted and changed and added and subtracted. This box is the latest entry in the long long logbook. Get it.

Peter Walker’s First Album in 40 Years due May 6th

Monday, April 7th, 2008


“Peter Walker was actually a bigger influence on my acoustic playing than John Fahey or Robbie Basho.”
– Ben Chasny, Six Organs of Admittance

Peter Walker came up in the Cambridge MA and Greenwich Village folk scenes of the Sixties. He recorded two albums for the Vanguard label in the late Sixties in a style best described as American folk-raga. He studied with Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, and was Dr. Timothy Leary’s musical director, organizing music for the LSD advocate’s “celebrations.”
A Raga for Peter Walker was released by Tompkins Square in 2006, featuring four new tracks from Peter along with original, previously unreleased compositions by revered contemporary guitarists Steffen Basho-Junghans, James Blackshaw, Greg Davis, Shawn David McMillen, Thurston Moore, and Jack Rose.
In recent years, Walker has developed an intense interest in flamenco guitar and, through regular trips to Spain, has been accepted into flamenco’s exclusive musical elite. Peter states,
“The music on this CD was reviewed and acclaimed in Andalucia by some of the old guard who have encouraged its release. With its roots in ancient East Indian music, Flamenco has influenced much of the world’s music. These Spanish-inspired pieces reflect my passion for this musical rubric.”
Selection #: TSQ 1752

1. Cante Gitano (Gypsy Song)
2. Flor de Noche (Night Flower)
3. Caminar en la Tarde (Afternoon Walk)
4. Manitas Juntos (Hands Together)
5. Cueve de Pepe (Pepe’s Cave)
6. Sacromonte (Sacred Mountain)
7. Eco de mi Alma (Echo of My Soul)
8. Poema de Amar (Love Poem)
9. Jaleador (Spirit Caller)
10. Soleo (Alone)
11. Cante en Medio (Song in A Major)
12. Por Rosa (Song in E Major)
13. Grandita (Song From Granada)
14. Bailarcito (Little Dance)

PETER WALKER TOUR DATES

Wed APRIL 09 GIRON, CAFE EL CERCLE (Blackmusic Fest.)
Thu 10 LLEIDA, CAFE EL TEATRE
Fri 11 CASTELLON, CASINO ANTIGO
Sat 12 MADRID, LA CASA DE LOS JACINTOS
Wed 16 LONDON, CECIL SHARP HOUSE W/ JAMES BLACKSHAW
Thu 17 Freakzone Session 1.30pm
BRISTOL, THE CROFT W/ JOHN RENBOURN & ROBIN WILLIAMSON
Fri 18 BBC World Service session
Sat 19 DUBLIN, BOOM BOOM ROOM
Sun 20 CORK, THE WHISKY
Wed 23 EDINBURGH, PLEASANCE THEATRE W/ JOHN RENBOURN & ROBIN WILLIAMSON
Thu 24 NEWCASTLE, MORDERN TOWER
Fri 25 MANCHESTER, ST MARGARET’S CHURCH
Sat 26 NORTHAMPTON, THE FISHMARKET
MAY 1 TORONTO, ON Over The Top Festival
MAY 3 Hamilton ON@ Casbah
MAY 20 FAYETTEVILLE NY, LA CENA
MAY 21 MONTREAL, QC, LA SALA ROSSA
MAY 23 UPPER JAY, NY THE RECOVERY LOUNGE, UPPER JAY ARTS CENTER
MAY 24 PORTLAND ME @ ONE LONGFELLOW SQ
MAY 25 MARTHA”S VINEYARD @ CHE’s LOUNGE