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Reviews

Jim GhediJim Ghedi
Album: Home Is Where I Exist, Now To Live And Die
Label: Cambrian
Tracks: 8
Website: http://www.jimghedi.com

Jim Ghedi's a highly respected solo finger-style guitarist, based in Sheffield, who's collaborated with and supported key acts ranging from Alasdair Roberts and Stephanie Hladowski to Trembling Bells and Big Eyes Family Players. Jim's is a focused signature sound that works heavily in rhythmic phrasing, and melodic and harmonic experimentation. His style is intense, with surges of notes that possess an eerie sense of direction that may not always be immediately apparent - that is, until the pace slackens and the air becomes still-born. For this album of original guitar compositions is described by Jim as "a running dialogue of time spent travelling to Brussels and northern Europe to returning back home, moments in time, fragments of life lived exposed in different places with different people".

He produces, entirely singe-handed, impressionistic and often majestic landscapes in sound, perhaps (to my hearing) owing most to the more experimental music of John Fahey and with brush-strokes and embellishments acutely defined, his invention unashamedly flowing between influences from British folk and American Primitive through to jazz, Spanish, African and other world musics yet without sounding even peripherally imitative. One feels that the titles for the individual pieces are almost incidental, since no specific temporal or spatial coordinates are supplied; and yet… An Ode To Richard Booth appears relentless, but runs across a stasis point into a highly lyrical development before vanishing into a slice of pure ambience mirroring the opening vérité soundtrack Bienvenue à Bruxelles… Lyricism is also a strong feature of Seven Oaks (Gwyn's Song), which recalls a certain air of Michael Chapman and David Gilmour, and the initially more leisurely, evocatively titled La Botanique Chante La Maison which builds into a piece that might've been inspired by Albéniz' Asturias.

Over the course of the disc, the restless juxtaposition of anchored sounds and chords with altogether more considered impressions can on occasion prove a touch wearing, and it's not easy to latch onto any defined melodies in the usual sense, so the disc can be something of a bewildering and even distinctly thorny proposition, yet it will also by its very nature necessarily captivate increasingly on repeated investigation. Ear-opening and jaw-dropping, Jim's playing is dripping with honest and intriguing invention, and you owe it to yourself to discover this rather prodigious talent. Now, on what is (incredibly) his debut CD.

David Kidman

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