Steffen published also a track at the "156 strings" guitar compilation album, and 2 great tracks at the "Wooden Guitar" acoustic guitar compilation album. Reviews and information on both otams (with soundfiles) can be found at the next "new guitarists page"
Takoma R./Fantasy  Robbie Basho : Bashovia (1967,1971)***°

This is a compilation of Robbie Basho in theory of last three Takoma releases, included are in fact nearly complete both Falconer's Arm (vol 1,2) releases (1967) with parts of  "Song of the Stallion"(1971).

The release came to existence with the help of  conversations with John Fahey, who actually mostly celebrated the singing of Basho at "Basho sings", also from 1967, a release we are still waiting for to be rereleased.
This release is with a bit more attention to the guitar, as you could expect from seeing the picture on the cover, with some exceptions. Unfortunately I am not capable for comparing with the concepts of the original albums into this new one. It is for me the only chance to hear these tracks. "Bashovia" is (like) the world of Basho, a world in which especially John Fahey sees his full imagination enfold, with an impossibility to get a grip upon Robbies full mysticism.

This particular album might not the best and best accessible starter. Personally I think "Guitar Soli" (****) gives a better overview of Basho's work.

For the song "Song of the Snowy Ranges" the voice seems not be recorded perfectly. One of my favorite tracks on this one is "a North American Raga (A plumstar)", one of his most worked out raga guitar pieces from those days, with a spiritual native talk included, and "Roses and Snow" in the same technique, with added tabla, both tracks originally from "Song of The Stallion". Hearing these two tracks compared with the rest it seems that the ideas and styles are much more worked out on later albums, and I wish this album came as a compilation of the '67 albums only or as "Song of the Stallion".

The guitar technique of Basho also on his first explorations is very unusual, but the longer he knows his technique the more clear it becomes that it can have some higher aspect too, transcending a more deeper human character in them. 
Basho himself says : "soul first, technique later". May be that was his secret for being able to delve into new and pleasant areas of guitar music. Another quote on "Song from the Stallion" is "better to drink wine from the hands, than water from a pretty cup". "But the ultimate is wine from a pretty cup." May be Basho started bringing wine to us with his bare hands, but in the development of his style, and surely with the addition of singing these hands became like a golden grail, with a sort of guitar presentation which Steffen Basho Junghans gladly learned from, and develloped into something different of his own.

Audio files : "The Falconer's Arm", "The Haji"
Strange Attr.                  Steffen Basho Junghans : Late Summer Morning (D,2006)*****

On this new album Steffen combines certain previously tried ideas with more intuitive freedom, resuming the earliest periods from impressionist to raga excursions on the first track.

The title of the album suggests the reference to the periodically associated Indian raga-structure, or at least “Late Summer Morning” works in that way. At the same time and similarely Steffen also is a painter. The landscape in watercolours on the cover (which continues on the back cover), can be compared to the way guitar excursion also “paints” itself, while the mood fits with the morning, and the energy becomes brighter, rising along as the rising sun.

Another idea derived from periods with new-minimalism, with moments of silence that say as much, like the melodic intertwining on “In a Secret Garden” or with new resonating harmonies on “Woodland Orchestra”, combined with more expressive paint, a track which evolves to a very complex height that still sounds natural in being different and unique.
The next tracks, like “Sky Dreamer’s World” and “Azure n°3”, which refers to the “Waters in Azure” album, use complex pickings and harmonies. On “Azure” it is as if Steffen has a third hand picking along.

Once more this album reveals for the guitar lover areas of finger picking guitar I have the impression..where no one has gone before, but because of the beauty and details of the landscape the global harmony still makes it never the less recognisable. Another brilliant masterpiece.

Audio :
Label info on release : http://strange-attractors.com/catalog/saah045.html
Other reviews : -
Interview : http://www.perhapstransparent.com/steffenbasho-junghans.html
Links for Robbie Basho :

A huge Robbie Basho-archive (with lots of links) from Steffen Basho-Junghans (English/German) : http://www.bluemomentarts.de/ & http:/www.robbiebasho-archives.info
Another Basho page at http://www.eldalamberon.com/robbiebasho.html with hopefully another archive in preperation at www.robbiebasho.net
Article : http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/archive/music/reviews/01-09-97/REX/ROBBIE_BASHO.html
Review of Basho at
http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/archive/music/reviews/01-09-97/REX/ROBBIE_BASHO.html
Albums by Basho at
http://www.fantasyjazz.com/catalog/basho_r_cat.html &
at http://www.cometrecords.com/robo10/robo.exe/RicercaTesto & at
http://www.acerecs.ndirect.co.uk/Artist.asp?lngArtist=740&strLabel=TAK
Robbie basho sound clip of "the dharma prince" at
http://www.sonicnet.com/artistinfo/504378.jhtml
The cover of Robbie Basho's guitar soli :
http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000003Z94.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
Some samples to hear at Amazon.com :
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/music/B000003Z94/samples/ref=pm_dp_ln_m_2/105-6614467-6427105        
A review from The Voice of the Eagle" you'll find at my page about
American native influences in progressive music.
A review of Bashovia you can find at http://www.cosmik.com/aa-october01/reviews/review_robbie_basho.html
and http://www.allaboutjazz.com/REVIEWS/r0901_152.htm
More might be found at http://www.folklib.net/index/b/basho_robbie.shtml

Strange Attractors        Steffen Basho-Junghans : River and Bridges (D,2003)****°

After having had a more experimenting approach on his guitar on a number of his releases, having perfected the raga guitar style, this release is again more independent in style. It is inspired, spontaneous and sincere, mature, harmonuous and well crafted.
"The River Suite" is a beautiful 22 minutes long finger picking song. I can't recall many more long guitar tracks with this quality, craftsmanship and inspiration. It was inspired by Virgil Thompson's "Louisiana Story". Also "Hear the winds coming" is somewhat similar in style, slightly different in mood. "The Takoma Bridge incident" pays tribute to John Fahey's steel string guitar label Takoma that supported steel string guitarists (like also Robbie Basho, Leo Kottke, Peter Lang). It's a 12 string guitar finger picking track with changing moods and references. "Rainbow Dancing" with 12 string guitar has a more happy mood, while "Autumn II" has the mood deriving from meditation into an awakening inspired reflective moment, just as if you could find "spring in the freshness of water in autumn". The short "Epilogue" with 6 string guitar is a well thought out track with nice balanced contrasts in tones and ideas. On "Rivers and Bridges" various rivers have been travelled, rarely seen bridges have been crossed with such ease and fluidity !...

More audio : http://www.musicoutfitter.com/store/item/789856301027/riversandbridges.html
Sillyboy     Steffen Basho-Junghans : Unknown Music 1 : Alien Letter (D,2005)***°'

Here Steffen doesn’t make it easy for the listener. Listeners in general are so much exposed to repetition of recognisable ideas, this might come over to some as "too strange"; some may even find it “chaotic” and who knows “nonsense”, which is of course not true at all. How many persons can still listen, and still have true open ears for sound evolutions and structures, and can recognise something which is structured within the unusual ?
The strangest thing is that for instance the first two compositions are normal fingerpicking, slightly jazzy even, but the harmonies and use of strings aren’t. These two deliberate melodies with unusual chords are called “Kottke on Mars”, and is an idea of genius of bringing a normal melody into an unusual new context. Then Steffen begins to improvise and play with strange combinations of strings, including the loose ends of strings.
Also within the improvisation there’s a self-organising vision. It’s not just doodling or free or just “experimental” like the term experimental nowadays is also used e.g. by people without a vision which is a collection of noise instead of organising sounds. This is an exploration with a vision that is created from knowledge, skills and with a creativity of an undeliberate “inventor” in the true sense, which is formed by listening carefully and at the same time creating a vision of how one can progress this further. 
It is more or less exploring like a child all new combinations and hidden combinations in the guitar, where the adult takes the lead over them and gives them a new future. The world in between has its vast material of recognisable patterns. After both visions the adult brings a couple of recognisable melodies into them, fluently attached to the earlier newness. Then they walk along together into a new combination.
Along the path of the improvisations it is not just a moment which can’t be repeated because it has too many ideas along the road not to. The unique thing about this exploration is a good portion of melodic and structural organisation along with the new combination of sound inventions.

The first 7 tracks listen like one exploration in several parts, as one composition and with the kind of variation I just mentioned. The eighth track is a second exploration, with a consciously chosen starting point, and with a slightly meditative effect, even if one could say this is done in an avant-garde way. I prefer to say it is just with a different or even in an alien world way. The ninth track show a variation on this, with one step further to alienation, becoming even more otherworldly, more energetic, almost like a machine which comes to life. The tenth track is a different version from the same starting point. The last track is a more calmed down most meditative improvisation with similar side-effects in playing. While this improvisation falls back on a rhythm of a chord, this concludes this way with a contemplating peace.

Audio : "IV","VIII"
3 track samples : http://www.secondlayer.co.uk/sounds/sound1100.htm
Other reviews : http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=17604
& http://www.secondlayer.co.uk/index/p1100.htm
& http://www.tonevendor.com/item/18724
2. Steffen Basho-Junghans

Steffen Basho Junghans released so far guitar records in mostly three different styles :
Impressionistic guitar, raga guitar and explorative techniques.

first two Raga-Guitar related releases, CD1, CD2, then 2 more normal-harmonic guitar excursions, CD3, CD4,  ending with the most unusual and new-improvised excursions: CD5, CD6, CD7, LP1
ROBBIE BASHO & STEFFEN BASHO-JUNGHANS
(specialised website for both artists at http://www.bluemomentarts.de/)
-this is one of my oldest webpages ; many spelling errors might occur-

descriptions, reviews and links :  1. Robbie Basho ; 2. Steffen Basho-Junghans
1. Robbie Basho    CD1, CD2, CD3, CD4, CD5, CD6
reissue on CD of first LP   original first LP (1965)
Blue Moment Arts              Steffen Basho-Junghans : In search of the Eagle's Voice(D,1995)***°°

Where Fahey, Peter Walker, Sandy Bull, Basho and some others have explored before him the raga guitar style, Steffen learned it all and transformed it to his personal style. This release is one of the best starters if you like the achievements of the first masters. There's another master playing here with an incredible talent. Compared to his later album "Song of the earth" this album is most near to the roots where the raga guitar styles started.
Most releases with raga guitar have mostly only one or two tracks in this style. Here we have an amount of variations of possibilities in comparable tunes, and in different moods.
The titles of the record refer to Robbie Basho. The painting remind me of the East and possibly also refers to Basho, the Haiku poet. The lines drawn in the air might be an overview towards various tone levels/perspectives,  as if seen from an eagle's flight.

Audio : "Sweet Silence", "Nightbirds Song"
Sublingual Records       Steffen Basho Junghans : Song of the Earth (D,2000)****°

The most accessible album of Steffen, and perhaps one of the best starters. Beautiful ! Where he used to explore the possibilities of raga guitar playing on the previous album, here he is more "one" with it, and goes into depth of it, creating moods from within. This is how "holistic" (other than New Age) music should have been : with a true content, a real spirit and with musical talent to express this.

(click item to see variation of cover) Soundfile : "Hear the Winds Coming"
Label entry at http://www.sublingual.com/basho.html
Strange Attr.                     Steffen Basho Junghans : Waters in Azure (D,2002)***°°

This release might be a challenge for the listeners but the experience will still be rewarding. There is not shown the easiest and most common approach to create new guitar excursions. This sounds more experimental or better : more adventurous and exploring. The result remains like soundscapes, but with a different essence than "water" how we usually associate something fluent and blue. For instance, there are also some high pitches I can't associate with something like the element of water. So what is shown is more something like an increased perstpective, beyond the known colours and elements as well. Insects for instance also hear higher sounds. This music is like flying into such higher sounds, and flowing in it as well, into the higher "blue notes" of it or something. This is a deeper experience, just like a blue deep lake can be associated to contain something as if from a deeper unconscious level.

Even the tracks played with one finger are strangely enough "nice" to listen to.

Only the last extremely minimalistic track I don't like so much, because it sounds a bit as if the record is skipping.

The music of this album, I was told, was inspired by the limitations of some hand surgery, which made Steffen look for new possibilities to play the guitar.

Audio :  "part 1", "Inside the Rain" (or here or here).
Webpage: http://www.strange-attractors.com/catalog/SAAH005.html
Review http://www.epitonic.com/artists/steffenbashojunghans.html
Vanguard Rec.Robbie Basho : Zarthus (US,1974)****°

"an album of Persian, Arabic, Western themes, woven togerher into a single 'Fabric d'Amour' to cover the barren manekin of modern times" is written on the the back cover of the cd reissue .

The first small track is mostly a raga guitar piece. From then on the blending fusions of ideas (not only musically, but also in content and spiritually) is so complete creating a new individual kind of music from a real spiritual level very hard to find elsewhere. This is as original and individual as let's say Florian Fricke's Popol Vuh or Moondog's music is. Half of it is raga-like guitar with some 'mrdangam' (Indian percussion instrument). There are some spoken words added and often you hear a highly remarkable singing. The last 20 minute track is mostly piano and singing. There's something in this music which I believe is still ahead of even these times. And this is from 1974 !

The other reissue on Akarma Records, "The Voice of the Eagle" might still be a better starter. But both items are highly recommended.

2 Audio files : "Khoda E Gul E Abe", "Khalil Gibran"
More information : http://www.bluemomentarts.de/bma/rbasho/en/visions.html#Zarthus

More information on the Iranean Zoroastrianism from a Christian vision : http://www.ety.com/HRP/booksonline/oliver/chap9.htm
A children friendly educative introduction at http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/westasia/religion/zoroastrianism.htm
Seen from Indian vision : http://www.culturopedia.com/Religions/zoroastrianism.html
and from a Gnostic vision at http://www.mystae.com/restricted/streams/gnosis/zoroaster.html
From a Hebrew vision http://www.rb.org.il/noahide/noahcom4.htm
From an historic vision at http://sangha.net/messengers/zoroaster.htm and http://www.who2.com/zoroaster.html
More at http://www.zarathushtra.com/  and http://www.zoroaster.net/indexe.htm
A bit more at http://www.livius.org/za-zn/zarathustra/zarathustra.htm
* About the Druz I could not find any link.
reissue of 1972 LP

"The Voice of the Eagle has been reviewed at my "music with native influences"-page with apropriate links for that item. Audio-fragment : "Voice of the Eagle".


-All links from this page are updated 2002-6-23-
new item added 2010-02-05


Go back to introduction page about raga guitar :
Raga in guitar music and raga in some progressive items
or go to review page 1 of new guitarists including some raga guitarists
or
go to index page sitar & Indian music crossovers & fusions
or go back to the main index


Tompkins SquareRobbie Basho : Venus in Cancer (US,1969)*****

This album contains some of amazing acoustic steel string guitar pickings and ideas. "Song For the Queen" has some delicately added string arrangements. A few tracks are sung. I heard that some people found his singing technique strange. I think it is necessary to consider these songs as a kind of shamanic troubadour style to some degree. Personally I like this very much, giving a personal colourful pastiche. The expressions are very heartfelt and do not take any other standards. This is a remarkable album and shows the range of Robbie Basho's expressions. A highly recommended starter. The album was made in a period where everything seemed to come Robbie Basho's way. Noticing some importance of what this astrologically could mean to him, he took the theme and raised it up into his own heavens.

Aquarius Records review :

"You know we must confess it is getting harder and harder to write about instrumental acoustic guitar records and not repeat ourselves. Sure we can talk about the various fingerpicking styles, the different tunings, the long-enduring influence and lasting legacy of John Fahey, but it starts to sound routine and in a wide field of players concentrating solely on one instrument, it's not easy to keep a fresh perspective. So thank the stars that the Tompkins Square label has reissued this amazing 1970 recording from Robbie Basho because it sounds so refreshing. Basho was the least known of the Takoma label trio, John Fahey and Leo Kottke being the brighter stars. But Basho's style heavily influenced by raga modalities and Celtic melodic structures was more akin to the classical and Eastern hybrid styles of Sandy Bull and Pete Walker. Venus in Cancer is a transitional recording originally released on ABC's Blue Thumb imprint just after he left the Takoma label and before his later New Age dabbling on Windham Hill. The songs are long and flowing, spiritually imbibed (but not overtly so) with melancholic melodic structures and raga-ish tempos that occasionally burst out in song. Yes, folks, Robbie Basho sings on this one (a point other reviews we read seem to ignore). But, before you all run away into the hills, let us tell you that his voice is a) pretty great in context with what he's playing and b) it's thankfully sparse throughout the record. On one song, he does some Henry Flynt-style field hollering, on another a bit of spoken verse, and yet on another his voice recalls a slowed down Antony or John Jacob Niles. This has got to be one of the best and unusual examples of primitive guitar we have heard in a while and as you well know we have heard a lot. Plus the cover art is pretty damn rad. Highly Recommended!"

Audio : "Venus In Cancer" (or here), "Song for the Queen"
Label page : http://www.tompkinssquare.com/basho.html
More info on this album : http://www.bluemomentarts.de/bma/rbasho/de/visionen.html#Venus
Other reviews : http://www.ab-cd.com/icbin/media/TPKS1820.2.html &
http://www.neufutur.com/Reviews/robbiebasho.html
Bo'Weavil Rec. Robbie Basho : "Bonn Ist Sureme" (US,1980,iss.2008)****°

review on http://www.psychedelicfolk.com/guitar12.html
Preservation           Steffen Basho-Junghans : Unknown Music II
   -Transwarp Meditation- (D,rec.2000,pub.2005)*****

review moved to http://www.psychedelicfolk.com/guitar13.html#anchor_406

















Architects of Harmonic Rooms   Steffen Basho-Junghans : IS -LP- (D,rec.2000-2006,pub.2009)*****

I have listened a couple of times to this new release of Steffen Basho-Junghans. It has been a while since I heard a new release from him. But here he proves how much he is a visionary in his guitar work, has a complexity in his playing which is more like painting with different forms and formats and combining this in a composition. This is also with much a more developed vision and technical range than almost any guitarist, especially from the past. Never the less lots of the fundaments are recognisable, just are explored as expanded worlds.

The first track is based upon a vibration provoked on the strings by sliding very fast up and down, adding accents and melody as if showing the development of a painting rather than a musical form, never the less resulting in a balanced musical composition as a first movement, a perfect intro. The second track which uses a more earthly improvisation on what sounds more bluesy to my ears uses the subtle vibrations on top. This evolves to a hypnotic sound field in between, a minimal finger rhythm played with slowly changing pitches and colours, hypnotic and vivid mechanical before returning to the bluesier excursion, still changing colours and pitches strangely by sliding the range of its picking sounds. The third track gives a different variation of the vibrational field, played by a rather fast rhythmical brushing this time, with the effect of a minimal repeated mechanical rhythm with a certain droning effect, with additional subtle changes, before transforming once more into melodic and bluesier improvisation. The fourth track uses a minimal pattern of plucked strings with pickings improvised around that. Also this sounds very visionary like a painting. The last two tracks start from a prepared guitar colourful range of a basic chord. The first track sounds almost like two guitars arranged over each other. Around these stranger pickings a warm and colourful range of melodic arrangements are formed over it. The last track with a very interesting enriched variation of a sort of prepared guitar starting point, adds more recognisable melodic improvisation modes to it, logical evolutions with strong accents and masterly ranges of expressions.

Steffen redefines the possibilities of expressions on the acoustic guitar: Like Fahey enriched certain traditional fields and opened them up technically with improvisation and melodical combinations, Steffen shows how these traditions can be used to paint with. He turns the traditions as well as the guitar into an instrument to paint with.

Audio : http://diogenes.greedbag.com/buy/is-9/
Label info : http://www.harmonicrooms.co.uk/Steffen%20Basho-Junghans.htm
& http://www.harmonicrooms.co.uk/shop.html
Homepages : http://www.bluemomentarts.de/http://www.myspace.com/steffenbashojunghans