Jesse Sparhawk & Eric Carbonara Sixty Strings LP/CD

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Jesse Sparhawk & Eric Carbonara Sixty Strings LP/CD

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Sixty Strings is an album of two epic duets by Eric Carbonara (22-string upright Chaturangui guitar) and Jesse Sparhawk (38 string lever harp). Beautiful raga/cosmic atmospherics and subtle virtuosity.

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Sixty Strings is an album of two epic duets by Eric Carbonara (22-string upright Chaturangui guitar) and Jesse Sparhawk (38 string lever harp). While Eric has studied Chaturangui extensively with Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya in Kolkata, and Jesse was classically trained by major figures of the harp world in his formative years, the music here is their own - not a mashup of quasi-orientalism and conservatory bloodlessness. Both side-long tracks lay out a spacious framework, with the two players working to support simple but elegant melodies that recall "Brüder des Schattens"-era Popol Vuh and various modal/devotional styles. While the sound of the Chaturangui's sympathetic strings provides a constant electric blanket of comfort, Eric's playing is concise and restrained, forgoing the kind of melismatic ornamentation that is a stylistic tic of much Indian-inspired music. Jesse, whose expert playing adds so much to Fern Knight's complex orchestrations, steps out and extends his instrument using various techniques - fingerpicking guitar-like patterns that interlock with Eric, and using sharply-struck attacks at the upper register for a piano-like effect. On "The Entwined Twin," the dry crack of a snare drum (played by Julius Masri) enters after a few minutes, ratcheting up the urgency and adding an unexpected texture to the proceedings. The excellent recording captures both instruments in detail, with a strong aura of closeup, intimate feel. Digipak CD or Audiophile LP (w/download coupon)