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Steffen Basho Junghans: Song of the Earth

Inspired by the American primitive school of guitar whose figureheads include the late John Fahey (who died earlier this year at the age of 61), Peter Lang, Leo Kottke and, arguably, Robbie Basho, Junghans is a German hippie whose steel-string, acoustic-based music is an extemporaneous, almost antitechnical free flowing.

Most of Junghans’ music is rambling and repetitive, typified by the pompously titled “The Grand Entry” and “The Gates of Delight,” which are essentially modal in nature, often integrate arpeggios with either a moving melodic or bass line, feature harmonics in some way and frequently suggest exotic influences. While the shorter “compositions” have many of the preceding qualities, for reasons unknown they also find Junghans venturing into other areas, such as the bold strumming episode of “Warrior’s Lullaby” and the rapid fingerwork of “Silent Skies,” which establishes a minimalistic environment loosely reminiscent of some of Steve Reich’s music.

Junghans’ music isn’t jazz by a long shot, and although it has plenty of shortcomings, it does involve improvisation and has a certain charm in terms of its simplicity, crystalline sound and raw naivete.

Originally Published