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Album Review

Over time, Michael Hedges' recording approach and guitar technique had morphed to include all sorts of gadgetry and inspired technical innovations. Each new disc introduced new musical and thematic elements to the guitarist's vast repertoire. This attention to innovative detail isn't as pronounced on Oracle, but it would be untrue to describe the disc as representing a creative stasis. On an album that is mostly instrumental and generally concerned more with melody than thematic cohesion and quirky technical breakthroughs, Hedges relies on his past offerings and simplest musical instincts for inspiration, and the results are splendid. After having the stolen homemade instrument he used to write and record his groundbreaking debut, Breakfast in the Field, returned to him in 1995, Hedges used the guitar as a guiding light, leading the way toward a return to a more musical and less technical musical style. Standouts include the simplified Zappa cover "Sofa No. 1" and the gentle guitar manifestoes "The 2nd Law" and "Oracle" but, as fans would expect, this offering is consistent in its quality, and rare in its musical commitment.

Biography

Born: 31 December 1953 in Sacramento, CA

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s

One of the most innovative and acclaimed solo guitarists of his era, self-described "violent acoustic" artist Michael Hedges rose to success on the strength of a unique performing style that utilized harmonics and picking to create the impression of multiple guitars playing simultaneously. Born in Sacramento, CA, in 1953, Hedges studied classical guitar while in college, subsequently earning a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. In 1980, he enrolled in Stanford University's...
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Oracle, Michael Hedges
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