It’s no secret to followers of this site that we are big guitar fans — we’ve covered the heroes of the new American guitar movement, from the neo-traditionalists to the most avant-garde experimenters, with some regularity. Tashi Dorji, currently of Asheville, NC, is one of the finest in the latter category, and we finally got a chance to check him out live at the Hopscotch Music Festival, where in addition to his set with Elisa Ambrogio and Ben Chasny earlier in the day, he delivered a mesmerizing set at the Kennedy Theatre later that night. As Dorji progresses through the set, you almost forget that he is improvising every note, or that he is just one player, alone onstage. Dorji, even more than most, has forged his own path in life, teaching himself the guitar in his home country of Bhutan before he moved to the United States for college. Once here, he moved beyond the stratified realm of traditional rock into the alien terrain he occupies now, where he rarely if ever plays what the traditional boundaries of music require. “Alien” could describe the sounds of this set as well, as Dorji turns a single guitar into a mini-orchestra of sound, with insect-like finger-picked high notes combining with looping bass notes to create a wall of sound. The Kennedy Theatre is a perfect venue for this sort of thing — it can get dark in there, very dark, and it is cool and spacious enough to allow listeners to sprawl on the floor, eyes on the lone-lit player, bathed in music. Dorji has released several notable records, particularly this year’s Appa on the Asheville label Bathetic, but watching him create live gives a much clearer understanding of his magic. He did all of this with just one guitar and four pedals, and even watching it live, you couldn’t quite grasp where it all came from.
I recorded this set with a soundboard feed from the always-excellent NC-based engineer Wayne, together with Audio Technica 4051 microphones. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!
Stream the complete set:
Hopscotch Music Festival
Raleigh, NC USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard (engineer: Wayne) + Audio Technica 4051 (at SBD, DFC, PAS)>Edirol R-44>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, fades, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )