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Aerial Boundaries

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Album Review

This is the finest album from Michael Hedges, the man who is responsible for the greatest revolution in solo acoustic guitar playing since Leo Kottke. There are moments on Aerial Boundaries where it seems literally impossible that so much music is coming from one man and his guitar. Attacking his instrument, snapping strings, banging on the fingerboard with his right hand, Hedges plays supremely beautiful music with the technique of a deranged lunatic. It has been said that genius is at least one part madness — although a questionable assertion in general terms — when applied to Hedges and his music, the analogy holds. The songs on Aerial Boundaries are all beautiful and haunting in their own right; and it is this emphasis on composition over technique that makes this such an important recording. Hedges makes the breadth of his musical interest known by the inclusion of the extremely interesting electronic piece, "Spare Change." Even though the liner notes assure the listener that the guitar is the origin for every sound heard, Hedges has electronically manipulated some of them to an almost unrecognizable point, yet he has still managed to create music of untarnished beauty. There is something of the music of minimalist Steve Reich's (thanked in the liner notes) in this track, as the cycling, overlapping guitar tracks are almost trance-like in their repetitiveness, yet utterly musical in their constant revelations. Aerial Boundaries is simply one of the finest acoustic guitar albums ever made, and deserves a place in the library of all serious music fans.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely his Finest....

This has to be the best collection of instrumental cuts from Michael Hedges. From the opening track '' Aerial Boundaries'', to the final cut ''The Magic Farmer'', Hedges never fails to take us on a fabulous journey into ourselves with fantastic solo guitarwork. ''Spare Change'' is a phenomenal piece, while some of his lesser- known tracks really transport listeners to another place, another time. Perfect for driving thru the mountains at night with a full moon above, or for a stormy afternoon with a good bottle of wine and your favorite person, or for a long intense bike ride downvalley. " Menage a trois" is stunning in its quiet, yet intense melody, and it's hard to believe that all these sounds are from just one instrument. This album is a classic, a MUST for all acoustic guitar lovers. This will NOT disappoint.

Michael Hedges's Finger Picking Good

This was the first Hedges CD I heard, and I was instantly hooked. I wondered how he was playing "Aerial Boundaries" when I first heard that it was recorded live, and with no overdubs. Well, the late wizard of the acoustic guitar played with a combination of many techniques: finger picking, two handed tap and hammer ons, pull offs, and throwing in a pick from time to time to strum.

This CD is a great introduction to the music of Michael Hedges.

If you like this listen to Larry Coryell

Larry Coryell was doing a very similar style and technique, especially on his album European Impressions, and his albums of improvisations on classical pieces, Scheherazade, Le Sacre du Printemps and Rite of Spring he put out in the late '70s. Also, Standing Ovation. To borrow a quote from the iTunes review above, "you can't believe one man is making so much music with just a guitar". Michael Hedges sounds like he listened to Coryell a lot before he created the "greatest revolution in solo guitar playing since Leo Kotke."

This is not to knock Michael Hedges, just to give a tip on where some more great music can be found.


Born: December 31, 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...
Full Bio