Review: Daniel Bachman – Perigee Moon / Bloodroot EP (Dying For Bad Music, 2011)

Sometimes little, unexpected things can get us just as excited as the “big things” we are anxiously waiting for. The sudden, accidental discoveries of unknown artists are often much more rewarding than the much-discussed and hyped superprojects of well-known musicians that made the name for themselves that often end up being disappointing (mainly because too much was expected from them in the first place, but that’s a topic for another story). By such one “little, unexpected thing” I mean a 7” vinyl EP by the Virginia-based six-string prodigy Daniel Bachman.

Daniel’s music can be understood as a homage to the masters of the American Primitivism (both the “old” ones, the originators, like John Fahey or Robbie Basho or the “newer”, more contemporary ones, like the gone-too-early master Jack Rose) and going agaist the grain of the whole retro-synth trend. Instead of grabbing an analog synthesizer or a delay pedal, Bachman grabs a steel string guitar and jams freely and naturally, without much alteration of sound, back to the roots – just like the cover, showing Bachman just sitting on a chair with his Instrument, surrounded by raw, beautiful nature. The two little tracks on this 7” are a vision of his mastery of the instrument – nearly 9 minutes channel more emotions than many of the “drifting drone” cassettes combined.

Side A’s “Perigee Moon” is an ecstatic, bucolic jam filled with fast, cascading fingerpicking, which falls into a healthy, drug-free repetitive trance – Bachman manages to make the guitar sound very “busy”, filling every second of the song with rapidly descending and ascending fingerpicks following accented by a few stronger chords that establish the melody. Actually, “Perigee Moon” sounds like progressive electronic music translated to acoustic guitar, mimicking the endless repetitions of the sequencers. On the flipside, “Bloodroot” gets things slower and more meditative. The sustained, droning strums get the music dangerously close to the hallucinatory, mellowed-out territory of psychedelic folk. In fact, the title “Bloodroot”, according to the liner notes, comes from “a perennial flower native to Eastern North America”, which “can also lead to unwanted side effects such as visual distortions and hallucinations”. The guitar tunings provided for each song under the liner notes are also a very nice touch.

But despite this seemingly ultra-American nature of music, Daniel Bachman should be considered a truly international man – thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this little 7” is truly an international effort: with music created in the US, mastered in the Czech Republic and released on a German label. Just one more proof that there are no borders for good music.

Daniel Bachman’s Perigee Moon / Bloodroot 7” is available directly from Dying for Bad Music.


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