Album Review

Fahey, John – “Hitomi” – [Important Records] (33rpm)

Jawbone   10/24/2006   12-inch, Country

At times shimmering, ghostly, hypnotic and drenched in reverb. At times bluesy in a slow, zen, discordant way. John Fahey’s last album to be released while he was still among the living, was his first to be self produced and self recorded since 1961. Supposedly, a live recording (there is no audience noise), the album lopes along at a very relaxed pace, until side 4, when it takes off in a free jazz workout known as “A History of Tokyo Rail Traction” (complete with locomotive sound effects). This is the only non-solo piece on the album, where Fahey is accompanied by Tim Knight and Rob Shrivener on keyboards and guitars.

After 40 years of recording and 40 albums, Hitomi was originally released in 2000, just months before Fahey’s death at age 61 after undergoing sextuple bypass surgery. A few postmortem releases have come out since, but this remains an interesting final testament from the father of American Primitive Guitar.


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