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Album Review

Those previously unfamiliar with the French acoustic fingerstyle guitar virtuoso will hear this crisp, multi-faceted collection as a well-played, slightly hypnotic and highly irresistible celebration of the steel string acoustic instrument. But those who delve deeper into the experience will be rewarded with melodic and percussive nuances (and colorful production touches) that tell a deeper story cut by cut. Recorded entirely at his home studio in the Champagne region of France, these 14 tracks beautifully showcase Pierre Bensusan's highly original and orchestral six-string style — which is marked by deft left-handed hammer-ons and percussive fret tapping. For those who are not guitar students, it's perhaps best to envision Bensusan's musical journey here as a travelogue, taking the listener to a happy place in South Africa (the provocatively titled, rhythmically seductive "Sentimentales Pyromaniques"), then Ireland (the Celtic-flavored "La Dame de Clevedon," written for a documentary about an Irish explorer), and later back home for "Demain Des L'Aube," a gentle melody set to a Victor Hugo poem. Bensusan also shows off his taste for compositional adventure with multiple guitar and vocal overdubs on the hypnotic, chant-filled "Sur un Fil" — composed for a planetarium project in Poiters, France. Also included from that project is the dreamy orchestral piece "Tacita," which showcases his command of ringing false harmonics.


Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

This French guitarist was actually born in Algeria and has long been fascinated with his North African roots as well as the Celtic folk traditions of western Europe. After making a name for himself as a folk musician in the late '70s, Bensusan began to incorporate jazz and classical elements into...
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Altiplanos, Pierre Bensusan
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