Henry Kaiser - "Garden of Memory I-IV"

(10/16/2015, Fractal Music)

Track Listing:
  1. Garden of Memory I
  2. Garden of Memory II
  3. Garden of Memory III
  4. Garden of Memory IV

The music is calm at the center, quietly psychedelic, raga-like in the way it slowly builds. Henry has a softly pulsating background layer underneath that changes mood from section to section. On top is Henry’s lovely semi-acoustic guitar taking one long solo after the other. Each solo tells another story as he also alters the tones of the notes, making certain notes ring, sail, soar, pop, harp-like at times and heavenly as well. It is as if he is creating a series of dreamscapes, each one better or at least different in vibe than the previous ones. Certain notes seem sped up, although the inner pulse is slow in the way it unfolds. Kaiser changing the tone or approach to his playing in each section so that he keeps things fascinating as they are transformed time and again. There is a section about 38 minutes into the first disc that sounds quite a bit like Frippertronics, well-handled yet still somehow Kaiser-like inits own way. It develops much quickly and mutates into something else entirely. The following section sounds like an extension the sixties Bay area psych guitars jam/spirit (a la Dead/Airplane/Quicksilver). The way all those guitar intersect, connect, support and tells stories together. Later today, I will listen to CD 2 in-between other reviews for this newsletter (2/6/15). Four CDs recorded in one day seems to be a bit much but Mr. Kaiser is obviously on the top of his game and up for the challenge. This box is a modest masterwork, an essential part of the puzzle of where electro-acoustic solo guitar has evolved and continues. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG