Electronic Folk International. Jazz Latin New Age. Aggressive Bittersweet Druggy. Energetic Happy Hypnotic. Romantic Sad Sentimental. The brevity and lyricism of his improvisations bear the mark of haiku; the floating, expressionist tones reflect the influence of Mark Rothko; and as he conjures keening Celtic wails, Connors offers himself as medium to the ghosts of New York City Past.
With Sails, Connors enters the third decade of such intimate explorations. In the course of these two discs, we pass through saturated phrasings, slowly undulating drones, doldrumic introspection and squalls of white noise. The penultimate highlight is a duet with Connors' aesthetic compadre, the late, great John Fahey.
It's an intuitive and seemingly predestined meeting of two enlightened fellow travelers: wily Fahey as the Dr. Livingstone of raw Americana to Connors' indefatigable Stanley. For his own part, Connors can evoke more clarity and purity in a short cluster of notes than most of his shred-happy contemporaries can muster in a lifetime—and with Fahey's passing, he may be justifiably considered this country's greatest living guitarist. His music is awe-inspiring … a one-person gentle tornado, Connors can get deep into human feelings with a single guitar.
As members of Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo continue to pump the most radical tenets of American experimentalism into the heart of rock music; in recent years they have also extended their reputations as world-class improvisers. However it is the keening blues wail of Loren Mazzacane Connors that leads this expedition of electric guitars to the farthest reaches of a vast, cinematic soundscape. It is beautiful and complex and, most importantly, it breathes.
As good and as moving as anything you'll hear this year. It intended nothing less than to rewrite the history of American music in the second half of the 20th century.