Tashi Dorji s​/​t

by Tashi Dorji



Hermit Hut Records 2014
HH01 Tashi Dorji s/t

Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Vinyl orders at Revolver USA

Tashi Dorji- Solo Guitar

Improvisation I/II - Recorded October 2011/July 2009 by Patrick Kukucka at the Static Age Studio, Asheville NC.
HW Release 10 May 2012.

April - Home recorded November 2011
HW Release 22 May 2013.

Few Thousand Words Without Any - Home recorded 2009, Asheville NC. From the yellow tape, self-released Oct. 2009.

Still III - Home recorded in the winter of 2011 at 24 Hazzard St, Asheville NC. From "Songs For Appa", Self-released Jan. 2013.

Sunder - Recorded Nov. 2012 by Flora Wolpert Checknoff and Michael Flanagan at the Lipinsky Studio, Asheville NC.
HW Release 22 May 2013.


released August 19, 2014

Art Work by Rick Myers

Manufactured and Distributed by Revolver USA


Ben Chasny supposedly founded his new label Hermit Hut out of sheer enthusiasm for Dorji`s music, and some passages on this self-titled LP echo the aesthetic of early Six Organs Of Admittance. On "Still III", a film of barely perceptible tape hiss smears hypnotically repetitive plucking, which collapses into half-suggested riffs and arachnid hammer-ons. On "April", Dorji moves between romantic flurries and cyclical clawing before pulling some whiplash runs out of near silence. It`s a highly personalised reconciliation of modes that negates any particular style while announcing a new talent in solo guitar improvisation.
-Alex Neilson, The Wire

Tashi Dorji, his first release on the trendy vinyl format, is culled from five years of cassette recordings. Five tracks are on closely mic-ed acoustic guitar, one on a more distantly recorded electric, and the only special effect in evidence is the boomy room sound of that electric piece. This collection suggests that Dorji is a musician who is not swayed by current trends in American solo guitar — you’ll look hard and come up short if you seek any American Primitive-style picking here — but also one who keeps his Asian heritage under wraps. Rather, he sounds like a guy who has spent a lot of time learning licks from the likes of Marc Ribot, Fred Frith, and Derek Bailey and then spent some more thinking about what he wants to do with them.

He is an improviser, unconcerned with reciting pieces he has played before and committed to playing what he feels in the moment. But he’s also a guy who grew up listening to songs, all sorts of songs, and he hasn’t renounced melody and form — he just likes to devise it as he goes along.

So while “April” starts out with disjunctive chording and prickly swipes behind the bridge that come straight out of the Derek Bailey playbook, it quickly leads into a series of purposeful, percussive elaborations upon a chord, augmented by some heavier but ambiguous-sounding thumping on the instrument’s back; if you have a good sound system, you might find yourself wondering who is bumping around in your attic. But don’t get the idea that Dorji is a guy who is fumbling around. Part of the allure of “Improvisation II” is the restraint and clarity with which he sounds each note. The rest comes from the way the music winds, each tone following logically from the last, but spiraling into a spot you wouldn’t expect it to go.

It’s a bit early to say that Dorji is a new, major player. But he definitely is, in the Derek Bailey sense, a player; a man who wants to get in there and work it out, a musician motivated by making music. I’d like to hear what he sounds like in the company of improvisers from other parts. Berlin, Chicago, London, Beirut — give this guy a call.
-Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine

There are only six pieces here, but each feels like its own planet. They occupy the same sonic universe but are different enough to suggest Dorji has traversed light years between each.
Dorji covers a lot of ground inside each piece. Often he’ll counter a dizzying cluster of high-speed plucks with subdued phrases and full stops, in the process echoing blues, classical, new age, and idiom-less free improv. As a result, “Improvisation II” feels like a baroque exercise and a spaced-out head rush, while “Still III” is both meditative and hyperactively impulsive. Dorji seems to cram everything he can think of into closer “Sunder”, whose ringing cycles have a hypnotic persistence, like an image you can’t get out of your head no matter how long you close your eyes.
It might sound like Dorji’s playing is so all over the place that it’s jarring—and it can be—but that’s also what makes it unified, because everything on Tashi Dorji sounds like the tugging and jostling of a single brain. Each piece is a reactive internal monologue wherein previous pushes echo in later pulls. Follow all the darting notes and you can practically see Dorji’s neurons firing at each other, every one a point or counterpoint in an ongoing argument he’s having with himself.
... From a distance, it might even look like his style is not that much of deviation from the patterns honed by the many storied players who preceded him. But sometimes when you zoom in close enough, you can find infinity inside the infinitesimal, and Dorji has managed to turn what could have merely been small variations into some pretty grand spaces.
- Marc Masters, Pitchfork 2014

An improviser on both the electric and acoustic guitar, Dorji has an envious amount of tools and touchstones at his disposal. During these 43 minutes, he moves between delicacy that reflects near-mechanical control and chaos that hints there must be a madman lurking behind the guitar’s wooden body. With his heavy strums and quick string pops, Dorji certainly trends toward the Derek Bailey and Eugene Chadbourne lineage of spontaneity. But there’s blues grit and classical grace here, with mirages of pop music and the mood of punk rock drifting in and out. Within the momentum of these wonderfully restless explorations of what can be wrangled from a few familiar strings, you can hear Dorji working through what he’s heard and learned.

This six-song set isn’t Dorji’s debut; he’s released nearly 10 rather short titles in the last five years, though those were largely short-run CDs and cassettes on small labels. But this album marks the first release from Hermit Hut, the new label from Six Organs of Admittance anchor Ben Chasny. It’s an auspicious introduction, then, carrying the imprimatur of one of the best guitar stylists of the last decade.
-Grayson Haver Currin, Wondering Sounds 2014



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