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May / June 2003








Beyond The Desert
(Avant Acoustic / Hapi Skratch)

Described by guitar great Phil Keaggy as, “one of the most creative and accomplished guitarists I’ve met,” Colorado-based guitarist Dave Beegle released a new solo album on the AvantAcoustic label. Beegle’s 2003 CD, Beyond The Desert further examines his expertise on Contreras Flamenco and Olson and Taylor steel string acoustic guitars. Beegles’s fascination with blending exotic world beat sounds with cutting-edge guitar instrumental music comes alive on the 7 track, 40 minute Beyond The Desert, which also features Mike Olson (bass), Matt Henderson (drums) and others. In addition to Beegle’s guitar playing, the CD also features Keith Rosenhagen on Flamenco guitar and a guitar duet between Dave and Phil Keaggy on the appropriately titled “Something Shared”. More relaxing and refined than Beegle’s electrified instrumental rock albums with his early ‘90s group Fourth Estate, Beyond The Desert is a praiseworthy follow up to his 2000 album, A Year Closer.



A Night For Baku

Even though they’ve been compared to legends like King Crimson, Ozric Tentacles and even the more esoteric elements of the Grateful Dead, California-based Djam Karet continue paving their own unique road since they started out just about 20 years ago. Still featuring guitarists Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson, the group—also featuring Henry J. Osborne (bass) and Chuck Oken, Jr.—are joined by bassist Aaron Kenyon on their 2003 album A Night For Baku. The group’s seventh album for the Maryland-based Cuneiform Records, Baku is a mind-boggling fusion of psychedelia, hard rock, progressive, fusion surf music and electronica. In lesser hands, that would be a recipe for musical disaster, but Djam Karet continues to mature and A Night At Baku shines as one of the group’s finest recordings yet. A band of gifted art-rockers who continue to blow musical minds, Djam Karet must be heard, or better, seen, to be fully appreciated.



Interlude With Fun Machine
(Starlight Furniture Company)

One of the weirdest ambient experimental albums of 2003, Interlude With Fun Machine from the group Cut-Out is a downtime, chillout sonic collage created by music producer Steve Fisk and his former band mate in the group Pell Mell, Robert Beerman. While both are guitar friendly players, the instrumental CD release on Starlight Furniture Company features a variety of instrumental musics, such as ambient dub and Eno-inspired soundscapes but it’s so weird you can’t even tell what instrument is playing what. Those who daydream about mixing vintage instruments like mellotron and optigon with restored rhythm boxes will understand where Fisk and Beerman are coming from. Anyone into later period Eno (The Drop) and some of Bill Laswell’s recent trippy ambient dub funscapes should be right at home on Interlude With Fun Machine. As beautiful and strange as the album is, it’s even weirder with the priceless album cover art.


In Progression

The Knights started out of New Mexico at the dawn of the ‘60s and for all of their various incarnations over the years the group’s founder and lead guitarist Dick Stewart has made sure the music rocked. The latest Knights CD, In Progression takes their unique approach to guitar-based, surfin’ flecked instrumental music to another level. Crossing generational as well as musical lines, the ten track CD features Stewart’s vintage guitar sound teamed with his sons Rich Stewart (bass) and Jason Stewart (modern guitar) along with some truly tasteful drumming from Steve Hudgins. A faithful cover of the Ventures’ classic “Yellow Jacket” is given a bold, new scope with Stewart and son tearing up the guitar tracks. Stewart’s guitar logic is steeped in the ‘60s and combined with his son’s ‘90s-style metal guitar work the CD makes for a unique timeless set of instrumentals.



Andromeda Airport

Finland is still one of the most interesting countries for instrumental rock in all of Europe. The Finns really caught on to the mid-90’s guitar instrumental revival in a big way turning out cool guitar bands such as Laika & The Cosmonauts, The Quiets and The Hypnomen. Featuring the tasteful guitar playing of Pekka Laine and the Hammond / keyboard sound of Sami Nieminen, The Hypnomen had a great album out in the U.S. a few years back on the MuSick label—Watusi 99—and their latest CD on the Finnish based Stupido label, Andromeda Airport picks up nicely from where their last left off. A mix of heavy fuzz guitar ala Davie Allan, psychedelic twang, ‘60s go-go organ sounds and the occasional atmospheric vocal, Andromeda Airport is righteous, retro relevance at it’s most entertaining.


Skyrats Scraps

As a fusion guitar virtuoso Buffalo, N.Y.-based Dave Schmeidler is pretty darn impressive and his 2003 instrumental CD features some fine players who enhance his guitar-driven vision. As far as influences go, you can spot Cream-era Clapton, Santana and even Steve Howe but Schmeidler is no hack and can clearly cut it with the best of them. His atmospheric “State Of Affairs” is simply gorgeous—featuring a majestic melody enhanced with a rare guitar sustain—and “Lullaby” is just that, but with a guitar tone on par with Jan Akkerman. Sometimes he takes it over the top with a humorous Zappa influence, but overall Skyrats Scraps is a fine CD that illuminates Schmeidler’s remarkable grasp of various electric guitar techniques and styles.


Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed in and 20th Century Guitar. Send to P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249 e-mail:

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by Send to: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249