Steffen Basho-Junghans
Released: February 27, 2001
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solo performance on acoustic steel string 6 guitar: 1st Movement (15:10) - 2nd Movement, Part 1 (5:16) - Part 2 (13:04) Part 3 (4:10) - 3rd Movement (21:34)

Evolving amorphously from the New Folk tradition inspired by Takoma Records artists John Fahey, Peter Lang and especially Robbie Basho, Berlin's most enigmatic steel-string guitarist Steffen Basho-Junghans exorcises radically new voices and perspectives out of the acoustic steel string guitar. Possessing an impeccable instinct and insatiable curiosity, this innovative guitar master is on a constant search to discover new possibilities for the instrument. Residing in Berlin, Germany, SBJ co-founded Wacholder in 1978 (a well known folk group in East Germany), is known as the "father" of the 1st All-Style Guitar Festival in the former GDR (1980), was director and second chairman of the Berlin Guitar Center and ProFolk (respectively) his resume is vast (see his extensive bio). What truly sets Steffen Basho- Junghans apart is his willingness to eschew years of hard-won technique for the sake of emotional and compositional purity. Four albums of expansive pastoral beauty are in the books. In the past few years, a sharp transition in SBJ's music has unfurled. INSIDE, his second US release, documents some of these recent experiments. Through it, a wholly other universe for folk guitar composition is opened WIDE.

Conceptually, INSIDE is a metaphysical excursion exploring the idea "inside the outside". Using "wrong" playing techniques as the basic launching point, INSIDE casts aside the inhibitive shackles of theory and develops the basic idea via a meditative and utterly minimalist approach. Hypnotizing soundscapes emerge from the depths, enveloping and distorting any semblance of time to the point of blissful disorientation. Broken into three movements, "1st Movement" establishes the very essence of the piece as a subtly shifting meander through space, building in a somewhat percussive, Raga-like manner. "2nd Movement, Part 1, 2 & 3" seem to hit a sojourn in the trip, dancing around a universe where Derek Bailey and Rod Poole incessantly debate the merits of John Fahey's America album. "3rd Movement" moves back into the saturating theme, galloping through various minute manifestations, ebbing and flowing effortlessly. An astonishing array of sounds are coaxed out of his acoustic steel string, remarkable considering INSIDE was recorded solo, with no overdubs whatsoever.

Standing uniquely apart as a singular suite of minimal-trance for solo acoustic guitar, INSIDE sets folk standards collectively on it's ear. With this record, Steffen Basho-Junghans makes a radical statement on the potential of acoustic guitar music. His ultimate achievement, however, is the creation of absolute beauty.

Discography: Song of the Earth CD (Sublingual), Landscapes in Exile CD, Fleur de Lis 1 CD, Fleur de Lis 2 CD, In Search of the Eagle's Voice CD, 12 String Solo MC (Blue Moment Arts)

Points of interest:

  • Steffen Basho-Junghans co-composed the liner notes for the Robbie Basho CD collection Guitar Soli on Takoma/Fantasy (along with Glenn Jones of Cul de Sac and Will Ackerman of Windham Hill)
  • Liner notes for INSIDE graciously supplied by Byron Coley
  • Appealing to fans of folk composition, minimalist composition, free jazz and acoustic psychedelia
  • RIYL: Robbie Basho, John Fahey, Sandy Bull, Loren MazzaCane Connors, Rod Poole, Derek Bailey, Takoma Records

    Hear an MP3 edit of "1st Movement"
    What some online press has to say: All Music Guide (wonderful!), All About Jazz, Aural Innovations, Opprobrium,
    and Steffen come highly recommended in Signal To Noise #22 (Summer 2001)!
    For a full biography, click here.
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