Tent Pegging

Went to the latest Acoustica evening at the Guildhall on Friday, where Vijay Kishore was returning for the second time. I wrote about the previous time I saw him here. He was pretty good, though, to be honest, he was pretty much the same as last time I saw him. I dunno if I’ve grown older and fussier in the past couple of years but although his voice still sounded out of this world at times, the songs didn’t sound as strong this time and the whole performance lacked some of the lustre of the previous time.

I do remember, though, that the last time I wrote about Vijay, his manager suggested firmly that no, I couldn’t post any mp3 here, but I could embed a video from YouTube. Well at the time I hadn’t quite figured out how to do this, but hey, I have now.

So I will:

I do also have something else that I’ve stumbled upon whilst trawling through a couple of different labels…

Steven R Smith / Hala Strana

Hala Strana is the stage name of one Steven R Smith, an American musician who apparently played in “fabled” (or was it “legendary”?) space rock band Mirza. (No, me neither…) I don’t really know a whole lot about him than this and what you can read for yourself on Wikipedia etc. (I do like the sound of a fretted spike fiddle, though…)

Anyway, Smith produces these dark (very dark) guitar pieces that are heavily influenced by Eastern European style. Lots of strings and bows over the top of some pretty distorted guitar work, and I have really developed a taste for it. The songs I’ve heard remind me a bit of the Velvet Underground but also have made me think back to those tracks by Ignatz that I became rather hooked on a few months ago.

There are tracks available at both Emperor Jones and at Soft Abuse, two terrific little labels that I need to return to, both of which offer some great downloads. I’m posting the three strongest ones here but there are more tracks available. You can also buy at least two of the albums on Emusic (here and here).

Streets of Raised Platforms – Hala Strana

Tent-Pegging – Steven R Smith

Blood Partridges – Steven R Smith

Thoroughly melancholic stuff…