Tag Archives: Strange Attractors Audio House

Review : Yair Yona “World Behind Curtains” LP/CD (Strange Attractors Audio House, 2012)

Yair_WorldWorld Behind Curtains is the second album by Israeli guitarist and composer Yair Yona. His debut effort, Remember, was a charming nod to the work of American pickers like Glenn Jones and the late Jack Rose, with Yona building on those guitarists’ post-Takoma palette with a few indie rock touches and some ensemble playing to fill out the sound. Well if Remember sounded full, World Behind Curtains is bursting at the seams! Throughout the disc, Yona’s fiery acoustic fingerpicking is augmented by lush orchestration and carefully arranged instrumental interplay, ranging from the tender, to the sinister, to the ambitiously cinematic.

The tender: First single “It’s Not The Heat, It’s The Humidity” finds Yona in Bert Jansch mode, and the guitarist says that the track was inspired by Jansch’s 1979 masterpiece Avocet. It’s not hard to make that comparison, especially at the beginning of the track where Yona dances around the chord roots, sprinkling in some modal ornamentation and basically nailing Bert’s thumb-picked sound. When Yona is accompanied by Shira Shaked on piano, though, the piece really begins to soar… and when the two players are joined by a chorus of strings, “It’s Not The Heat…” sounds like nothing less than a full-on, big-budget Joe Boyd production. It’s a striking step forward for Yona.

The sinister: There is a foreboding quality to opener “Expatriates”, one that seems to echo the tension that is ever-building in Yona’s part of the world. As the track goes on, the twelve-string acoustic is swallowed up by caterwauling electric guitar noise, and this howling, haunted atmosphere reminds me of Japanese psych-rock heroes Ghost. Later in the disc, “Mad About You” comes out of the gate with tightly wound, energetic strumming before retreating to it’s moody main body, which gradually builds in intensity, picking up speed and eventually unfurling into an insane courting dance. The orchestral players are the stars in this song, and though Yona’s guitar ties the whole thing together, it’s their instrumental filigree that propels the track. Erek Kariel contributed the ambitious arrangements on this tune. Continue reading

Raymond’s Fall 2011 Tour Journal

While I don’t get out on the road nearly as often as I’d like, it seems that for the last few years, I’ve been able to tour with some regularity… and though I normally relish these trips as an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts and tunes on the sometimes long drives between gigs, my last three outings have been cooperative tours with other musicians, which is really the more interesting way to go. This time out, I had the good fortune to spend a week with Chuck Johnson, in my opinion one of the coolest players recording today.  Chuck had secured a small arts grant and was hitting the road to promote A Struggle, Not A Thought, his debut solo LP on the Strange Attractors Audio House label.  I’ve been following Chuck’s music ever since his appearance last year on the amazing Beyond Berkeley Guitar compilation, and was really excited to spend some quality time with the man, exploring each others perspectives on our tool of choice, the steel-strung acoustic guitar.  Throw in our mutual friend Trevor Healy, not only a talented luthier but a fantastic fingerpicker in his own right, and we had ourselves a week-long guitar bro-down of epic proportions!  Having interviewed both men for the release of BBG, I knew that they would be thoughtful and intelligent travelling partners, and alas the short time we spent playing shows together passed far too quickly.

For me, this particular trip started with a whimper: having played a house party the night before and getting to bed in the 3am area, I was not able to rise in time to catch my 7am Megabus from Pittsburgh to New York City, where I was supposed to meet up with Chuck and Trevor to start my leg of the tour.  I wasn’t actually on the bill in NYC, but was planning to concentrate on getting photos and videos for this here blog, and I was looking forward to visiting the Zebulon venue for the first time.   As it was, it gave me an extra day to pack properly and to practice, which was welcome… but it also meant that I’d have to figure out how I planned to get from Pittsburgh to Cambridge the next day for our gig at Zuzu.  I decided to rent the tiniest car that Budget offered (and my budget afforded), which turned out to be a Chevy Aveo.  Tiny it was, for my dreadnought case didn’t even fit in the trunk!  It mattered little, though, since I’d be leaving the car in Boston and travelling in Chuck’s rental the rest of the trip.  I spent that grey, rainy Monday traversing Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and finally gunning it across the Mass Pike to get to the gig with a little time to spare. Continue reading

Review : Sean Smith “Eternal” CD (Strange Attractors Audio House, 2010)

by David Leicht

Last month, Strange Attractors Audio House reissued Sean Smith’s terrific album, Eternal.¹  Where Sean’s prior recordings: the self-titled LP, Sacred Crag Dance, Corpse Whisperer, and contributions to Berkeley Guitar, established him at the forefront of the underground solo guitar scene, Eternal reveals him to be a gifted arranger as well.  Most of the album finds Smith in ensemble with combinations of Adam Snider, Fletcher Tucker and Angela Hsu on stringed instruments (violin, mountain dulcimer, banjo, etc) and Spencer Owen on percussion (claves, sandpaper blocks, drum kit, etc).  As with his solo work, Sean takes on a number of different folk styles, and the ensembles allow him to superimpose a variety of textures.  The result is an album that is as entertaining as it is challenging, which cannot always be said of offerings from even the most talented instrumentalists. Continue reading

Review : Jack Rose & Glenn Jones “The Things That We Used To Do” DVD (Strange Attractors Audio House, 2010)

by Raymond Morin

The late Jack Rose and his good friend Glenn Jones have established worldwide reputations as standard-bearers in the modern instrumental guitar movement, and here at Work & Worry, we’ve always tried to give them their due.  In the months since Rose’s untimely death, there has been a flood of new Jack-related releases:  his fantastic full length album, a six-plus hour, digital-only tribute collection, and an upcoming EP featuring D.Charles Speer… a lot to take in, and at this website, we haven’t had the easiest time keeping pace.  Heck, I think I would’ve been satisfied with just the excellent Brickbat Books Bootlegs posted by Delta Slider a little while back! But I think that I can say with some confidence that the most indispensable artifact from this important era in underground acoustic guitar music might be this wonderful DVD from Strange Attactors Audio House. Continue reading

Yair Yona Signs To Strange Attractors!

Work & Worry would like to congratulate both artist and label on this match made in heaven… Israeli guitarist, blogger, and all around musical champion Yair Yona has signed to the great Strange Attractors Audio House label, who will release his excellent album Remember on LP, CD and MP3 this August!

Check out our recent interview with Yair Yona here.

Yair Yona Signs To Strange Attractors!

Work & Worry would like to congratulate both artist and label on this match made in heaven… Israeli guitarist, blogger, and all around musical champion Yair Yona has signed to the great Strange Attractors Audio House label, who will release his excellent album Remember on LP, CD and MP3 this August!

Check out our recent interview with Yair Yona here.