Arborea guitarist Buck Curran expands his meditative solo practice on Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Arborea guitarist Buck Curran expands his meditative solo practice on Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas

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In his long-running duo Arborea, guitarist Buck Curran skillfully spun lines of gossamer beauty and tenderness into a sparkling blanket under the sweet cooing of his musical collaborator and then-wife, Shanti Deschaine, occasionally descending into meditative treacle. Since he began making solo records a couple of years ago, his liquid fluency has taken a more rhapsodic direction. He’s achieved a new depth with his recent Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas (ESP-Disk/Obsolete), on which his delicate fingerstyle playing emphasizes lyric generosity over flashy technique. His lilting, dewy melodies hang humidly in the air, suggesting a fragrant hothouse, while the notes of his cycling patterns decay. Curran largely eschews the sort of propulsive locomotive lines made famous by John Fahey. Instead, his improvisations and composed vignettes seem to float, especially on “The Sun Also Rises,” where his overdubbed guitar parts build a horizontal sound stack of ringing long tones, twangy curlicues, and ambient drone. Singer Adele Pappalardo, Curran’s new wife, contributes vocals on a cover of Chris Whitley’s “Dirt Floor” that harks back to Arborea’s sound, and Nicolò Melocci blows mellifluous bansuri flute lines on “Bhairavi Rovelli,” summoning the hypnotic spirit of Indian classical music while Curran uses electronics to produce shimmering, flutelike tones that gorgeously entwine with his playing. Otherwise the music clings to the same enticing framework.   v

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