First vinylization of the 2011 CD-R release, with which Daniel Bachman shucked the performing name he’d been using (Sacred Harp) and laid his naked ass on the line. Bachman already sounds like a wizened player here (an image that was solidified when his mug was plastered on the box for Tompkins Square’s “Obscure Giants of Acoustic Guitar” trading cards), but he was actually still a babe of the Fredericksburg woods at the time this came out. Regardless, his technique is massive, and his approach to the material — based on a color-wheel tuning system developed by the late Robbie Basho — is intense. Recorded onto a boom-box, with a hi-fi quotient of nil, the material here reminds one of what Bill Orcutt might sound like if he decided to play in longer format time-chunks. There’s a wonderful kind of containment to the music — suggesting deep investigation and improvisation with hermetic knowledge rather than anything constrictive — which gives this album a sense of spirituality one rarely finds outside the New Age bin. Bachman is a master player, and the evidence of this is apparent even at this relatively early stage of his trajectory. Through constant touring and wood-sheddding, Daniel’s music has evolved in multiple directions over the intervening years, but Grey-Black-Green remains one of the true and unique high watermarks of his recordings. How great to have it on vinyl at long last. Includes a download code.
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This album has been a long time coming. Dredd and Ben first talked about collaborating back in the late ’90s and it’s now 2014 and the goddamn thing has only just arrived. Was the wait worth it? You bet your teeth it was. While this album would have been pretty great if they’d done it back in the day, the fact it has been allowed to age and grow of its own accord lends the project a richness and beauty beyond easy comparison. This specific album grew out of some shows Dredd and Ben have done together over the past couple of years. The communication between the two of them was deep and crisp, even from the very first note they played together. I don’t recall if there’d been any rehearsing at all, but Ben’s electric guitar was weaving around and through Dredd’s vocals and acoustic strings as though he’d been doing it since he was a pup. Having seen Mr. Foole perform in a wide variety of situations over the past 33 years, I can assure you that he has rarely been in such telepathic company. From the extreme blabbermouth lockjaw of “Pressed for Illumination” to the relatively quiet melancholia of “Four Roses for Jack,” the sounds on Drunk with Insignificance are utterly maxist. Dredd’s songs have never sounded better, and Ben pulls an exquisite raft of riffs out of his sombrero. If you have a fondness for either of these legends of the contemporary underground, you owe it to yourself to check out this collaboration. It will shiver your timbers down to their very roots. Beautiful. Edition of 300.