Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection
Sometimes an album knows to impress from the first few seconds you hear, and in the case of Twilight Peaks, the last album by Robbie Basho this is most certainly the case.
Twilight Peaks (1985) is the last studio album Robbie Basho recorded before his death in 1986. At that time there was very little interest in the album so it only got released by some new age label called The Art Of Relaxation to sell as relaxation music during your inspiration meditation sessions with some intense artificial incense smell around your house. So these recordings ended up between all the whale, dolphin, rain forest and bird sounds, after they first were enhanced with a huge amount of reverb to give it this special ethereal mood.
Well, lucky enough for us someone kept the master tapes which not so long ago popped up at the Belgian label Smeraldina-Rima. For this release the music has been undone form the reverb and remastered.
Like John Fahey, Robbie Basho is one of the important finger-picking guitar players to emerge from the Takoma school (Takoma is the label started by John Fahey that in the start had a focus on guitar folk) and until his death he played his own form where the traditional American folk was combined with styles typical to Indian and Arabic music. And on this final release we hear this very well.
In the nine pieces on the LP (that’s one bonus track from the original recordings, on the CD there are also 2 extra live tracks) we are taken on a journey so it seems.
With the quick finger-picking we are presented scenery’s of hills full of waving grains and cotton at the end of summer when people are working in the field. Or the moment where on a lovely evening you are sitting in your rocking chair on the porch of your wooden house while watching the sun slowly sink in the fields, as if the whole horizon is burning. A moment where the problems of the day are all forgotten.
Especially in the piece Nice Enough For Love we are treated with this glorious moments where the world just slips by with out noticing. This track shows Basho at his best playing technically perfect but not forgetting the part where he has to put emotion in. It shows the unique style and quality of Basho.
Another song that stands out is the last song, which is an extra addition not on the first release. In Kingdom Of Love we hear Basho accompany his guitar play with singing in a warm deep voice. In the lyrics it shows the spiritual/religious side to Basho his music where he sings about the kingdom in heaven. It shows Basho not only as a skill full guitar player but also as an interesting singer. Something he did do before in the past but in my opinion not enough.
It is good to see this release finally available in a proper format and the way it is presented is just amazing with the artwork by Wouter Vanhaelemeesch (also know from his work as The Urpf Lanze and owner of audioMER.)
You can listen to the album on bandcamp
Or buy the LP or CD through: http://www.smeraldina-rima.com/products-page/robbie-basho/
The first edition of the vinyl is limited to 500
The edition of the CD is not given.