LP / Linear Notes by Byron Coley Edition of 500 Co-Released with Negative Glam
Release Date – Nov. 6th, 2020 – pre-order available-
Here is the first volume of protean solo improvisations recorded by Loren Connors in his artist’s garret in New Haven, Connecticut. It was committed to tape on February 20, 1979 and pressed to vinyl soon after. As with the two earlier LPs on Loren’s Daggett label, singer/recorder-player Kath Bloom also appears on this record, although only on the second side. Those prior LPs were both issued in 1978, The first was Acoustic Guitar/Gifts a split LP with Loren solo on one side and with Kath joining him on the flip. The second was Fields, which I have been assured uses the same split format.
Although most people cannot help themselves from believing all nine volumes of this series (all of which we will be reissuing) are of a piece, the first volume represents a real declaration of identity for Loren. He was introducing himself publicly as a guitar player, although his approach was still very much dictated by the influence of the painter, Mark Rothko, who Loren once described as using a minimal palette to create vital art.
The music on Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Vol. 1 is less violent than the solo side of the Acoustic Guitar/Gifts split. I’ve never been able to hear a copy of Fields, so I can’t compare that one. But the feel to this session is bluesy, in as much as Loren’s wordless vocals have a surface similarity to a hellhound’s, and while he was not using a slide, most of the notes he plays are bent to the edges of their known range. Fahey always said blues was “about” anger, however and there’s not really any of that here. I am more reminded of this Rothko quote.
“You’ve got sadness in you, I’ve got sadness in me – and my works of art are places where the two sadnesses can meet, and therefore both of us need to feel less sad.”
The first side is solo. On the second Loren is joined for a bit by Kath on hums and recorder. The music brims with sorrow more than anything else. And while it’s clear Loren was embracing an abstract avant garde aesthetic vis-a-vis his playing, the urge to communicate seems to lie at its roots. Whatever you choose to call it, this is the beginning of something quite beautiful.
-Byron Coley, 2020