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Eclectic Earwig Reviews

Stefan Dill: Sangre Del Rio (CD, 72:59) Norumba NUR9701 1997
Norumba Records
PO Box 641
Clayton, NM
CYBERHOME: http://www.norumba.com

Go ahead - I DARE you to classify guitarist Stefan Dill's 1997 release
Sangre Del Rio into any one musical genre. After listening to the 74
minute work of art several times, I decided the genre it most fit was
"Free-Form Guitar Tuning, Banging and Noodling Accompanied Occasionally by a
Lady Playing a Harp," but I found that to be a bit unwieldy. So I
compromised and came up with "Experimental Free-Form Classical Flamenco,"
which is about as precise as I could get. Both explanations are pretty much
on target, though.

In Sangre Del Rio, Dill has come up with an innovative but somewhat
bizarre musical style. The only consistency with the music is its
inconsistency - Dill seems to almost flaunt the music's lack of structure.
Despite Dill's prowess as a Flamenco guitarist, you will not hear
DuLucia-like runs very often on the album; Dill instead opts to engage in
some very experimental playing, almost never letting an entire idea finalize
before moving on to something different. There is some excellent classical
playing on tracks such as "Viento Rojo" and "Hijo," but for the most part
the CD is filled with strange chords, unsettling melodies, and a ton of
"guitar percussion."

So while Dill is certainly to be commended for standing apart from the crowd
in terms of musical styles, the question becomes "Is Sangre del Rio
an entertaining listen?" Well, the short answer is "no". There certainly are
bits and pieces that are pleasing to listen to, but as a whole the free-form
nature of the music winds up being more bane than boon. It is very hard to
discern what exactly Dill was trying to accomplish with this release; at its
best the songs contain some good technical playing, but at its worst the
music sounds more like someone tuning their guitar for 5 or 10 minutes at a
time. Dill is obviously an accomplished guitarist, but I'd much rather hear
some conventional playing versus the "un-music" released on this CD.

- Michael Askounes (michael@gscyclone.com)

Stefan Dill: Guitar
Courtney Smith: Harp (Track 1)

1. Angels (3:54)
2. Rio de Espiritu (9:36)
3 .Viento Rojo (10:07)
4. Homenaje a Joe Maneri, 1 (2:43)
5. Sands, Mountains Embraced, Breathing Rivers' Folded Light (18:36)
6. Cajuleu (4:51)
7. Sangre del Rio (13:39)
8. Hijo (9:03)

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