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Ben Monder: Excavation

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Guitarist Ben Monder flashes a technique that’s close to ridiculous here, though you might miss it if you aren’t looking for it. On “Mistral,” the first number and a tune that sets the tone for everything that follows, only pedal tones from bassist Skuli Sverrisson accompany Monder. Fingerpicking broad chords, the guitarist surges through streams of notes so quickly and smoothly that the guitar seems to liquefy in his hands. But the music itself-distantly melodic and with a rambling charm-makes Monder seem like some lost branch of John Fahey’s “American primitive” sound.

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