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Perpendicular Worlds

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Album Review

Lost Grove Records' rediscovery of ‘70s guitarist Toulouse Engelhardt continues with Perpendicular Worlds, a close-miked, loudly mastered collection of his 12-string acoustic excursions. Engelhardt, an alumnus of Takoma Records, can recall the label's founder, John Fahey, as well as its star graduate, Leo Kottke, but he has less of the folk and country roots of those peers and a bit more (even on acoustic) of the surf guitar of Dick Dale, which makes him something like the missing link between Takoma and Windham Hill. Fond of harmonics, he creates circular riffs, sometimes played very fast, and the recording techniques make for accelerating overtones until it seems like a guitar army is on the march. Engelhardt exposes his roots by covering Davy Graham's "Anji," an instrumental much favored by ‘60s guitarists, but his version is much busier than, for example, Paul Simon's. Similarly, he overwhelms Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun," making the basic theme difficult to discern. Thankfully, he has a sense of humor. As he justifies the title of "Exceder la Velocite de Lumiere… ‘Exceeding the Velocity of Light'" with frantic playing, he can be heard whispering to himself, "Godspeed, Toulouse Engelhardt!" Amen to that.

Customer Reviews

Perpendicular World Is Finger Picking 101

Perpendicular World is Engelhardt’s latest acoustic masterpiece. I emphasize the word “masterpiece” because there is no other definition worthy of this man’s output on this project. The only albums I have personally enjoyed that come close are recordings from Adrian Legg, another brilliant acoustic player. This is an artist that defies conventional methods and categorization while simultaneously producing absolute heaven with his acoustic guitar. He uses bronze strings and heavy-gauge National Steel fingerpicks to create his visual imagery and finds success within each composition.

There are 13 tracks on Perpendicular World, each one creates an ambiance and has a personality all its own. The album is broken down into two parts, Inner Space (tracks 1-7) and Outer Space (tracks 8-13). I must say even though this artist is new to me I was able to settle in and enjoy his music rather quickly and appreciate all the talent that was afforded my previously uneducated ears. Instrumentals make it more difficult to decipher the meaning of tracks and rarely make any sense or fit with the music, except for the originator in most cases. In this instance the man making the music makes you think about each title while listening, pushing you into a reflective and introspective frame of mind.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Guitarist Toulouse Engelhardt was born in Milwaukee, WI, grew up in Southern California, and first started to play the guitar at age six. Largely self-taught, he acknowledged two guitar lessons, one when Larry Carlton taught him to play "Walk Don't Run" when he was 13, and the other when Wes Montgomery gave him some tips as he hung around the stage door of the Lighthouse Café jazz club in Hermosa Beach, CA, early one morning. Engelhardt was signed to John Fahey's Takoma Records, which released his...
Full Bio
Perpendicular Worlds, Toulouse Engelhardt
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