Loren Connors: Avant-Guitar

Loren Connors: Avant-Guitar

The road Loren Connors took to (limited, underground) success seems like the same sort of serpentine path anyone with creative talent is required to follow. Heading to college during the seventies, Connors moved from Connecticut to Cincinnati in order to take art classes. Regardless of his success in various mediums, he graduated and soon returned to his hometown. During the trek back and forth, Connors fiddled with guitar moving back and forth between improvisations and staid blues interpretations.

Regardless of how each of those worked, it wouldn’t be until the nineties – when he moved to New York City – that people began to embrace Connors’ improvised guitar pieces. Seemingly as related to Erik Satie as anything else, the way this musician slowly and fluidly moves in and out of melodic ideas makes listening to any of his recordings – and there’re loads, literally loads – an interesting endeavor.

For his two disc set Sails, Connors splits the recording into an album’s worth of shorter pieces, including a revamped “Dark Was the Night, Cold is the Ground” he performs with John Fahey, and the second, a thirty-six minute title track. Wading through the first half of the set should find listeners confused as to when one section ends and when one begins. In addition to Connors work being a singular thing, working up multi-part compositions erases any delineation that would have been possible. That extraordinarily long track, though, moves through ambient sections, noisy ones and back to the calm, displaying the rage Connors’ prepares for each performance and recording. Top shelf.