Guitarist Irazoki seems to pride himself on string theory. Not the concepts put forth by particle physicists, but the ones that demand you essentially reinvent the guitar, throwing out any guidebooks, rules, or regulations that get in your way. This is precisely what Irazoki does on Olatuetan, his vociferous debut for the ever-resourceful Creative Sources label, home to many a scrappy improviser and rugged experimentalist. Perhaps the CD bookletís dense (and beautifully shot) forest of reeds suggests Irazoki uses his string-driven things much like an audio-logical Indiana Jones, hacking his away through thickets of guitar traditionalism to eventually uncover whatever new xís mark the requisite spots. That this recording is dedicated to both Derek Bailey and Robbie Basho is no coincidence ó both are Irazokiís forebears, and both have left catalytic scars on his psyche.
Irazokiís arsenal includes electric and lap steel guitar, nylon strings, and banjo (!), which are hardly left adorned (thereís discrete processing afoot amongst these multi-tracked pieces), yet the sounds of his instruments are certainly recognizable ó the fly in the ointment is that Irazoki is more intent on deconstructionism rather than destruction, preferring to smear context instead of mutating his sound tools in a morass of silicon. Take the banjo pickings and flecked shrapnel of the opening track: Baileyís spirit tugs at these angular, fractured warpings via Irazokiís own bent fingers, notes edited into ham-fisted knots that seem to abruptly cease as they suddenly morph into different shapes altogether. Restless, frenzied capitulations inform the more noisy climes of the second piece, though Irazoki tempers the (again) Bailey-esque noise thanks to some carefully chosen nylon chords, minimally present yet gleeful all the same. ďBehin Bashorekin OlatuetanĒ, as the Basho in the title implies, reincarnates the ghost of Basho, but Irazoki doesnít appear interested in sycophantic homage to, or waxing nostalgia for, his hero: this is a gorgeously played, quite individualistic work, made the more poignant due to Irazoki softening his languid arpeggios in a pillow of subtle background ambience.
Lest these influences override the guitaristís obvious talents, Olatuetan doesnít just come across as a tidy summation of Irazokiís penitence to his mentors. Electronic flutterings couch insistent guitar spikes and strangulated strings along the boundary lines of the discís sixth track, indications that Irazokiís not only transcended his iconsí work but also made clear that his own artistic directions are not anything but genuine.
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