All tracks except "April" recorded by Flora Wolpert Checknoff and Michael Flanagan, Nov. 2012 Lipinsky Studio.
all live improvisations, no overdubs, no edits.
"April" recorded by Dorji, at home, Nov. 2012
Artwork by Luciann Waldrup aka Housefire
Graphic Design / Layout by Ross Gentry
released May 28, 2013
An Invigorating splash of color from an improvising guitarist with a sure touch. The warmth of the instrument`s nylon strings is pitted against Dorji`s more metallic preparations- hairpins, chopsticks and sticky tape- to offer a bristling range of timbres, the whole thing recorded in vivid close -up..."Iron Cloud" starts like ringing bells, then skids off into textural scrabbling- while elsewhere he`s painterly: "April" and "Sunder" share a more austere approach that can recall a Chinese guchin zither. The explosive pyrotechnics and distortions of "Macula" are dazzling and rhythmically direct- just an acoustic guitar, but tremendous playing.
-Clive Bell, The Wire Magazine
Hailing from Ashville NC, Bhutanese guitarist Tashi Dorji’s self-titled cassette arrives fully formed. With fluid coils of tense guitar improvisations and a chiming melodicism he runs through several experimental solo guitar modes. At times darkly terse, Dorji’s sense of control keeps the fractured rhythms and textures constantly changing. His aggressively abstract approach is tempered with serene melodic textures that continually engage the listener. His ever-evolving pieces expand and contract with an intuitive balance. Rarely do guitarists emerge with such unique personality inherent immediately, and Dorji strikes an instant impression with his dynamic playing.
Going down the research rabbit hole of American Primitive recordings released in 2013, I discovered Tashi Dorji. To be fair, calling what this Asheville, N.C.-based, Bhutanese-born guitarist does "American Primitive" isn't quite right. Dorji works with prepared acoustic guitar (for instance, pieces of paper jammed between strings) and contact mics to illuminate the not-so-guitar-like sounds. But on this self-titled tape, it's all one-take improvisations and no electronics, with an extremely close recording that captures every scrape, pick and crash on the fretboard. The comparisons to non-idiomatic guitarist Derek Bailey are not unfounded, but Dorji's explorations are spirited and don't seem guided by American blues, but perhaps the Bhutanese melodies of his formative years.
-Lars Gotrich, NPR 10 Favorite Cassettes of 2013
Guitar skill is tough to judge. Some covet Eddie Van Halen, others Sandy Bull, most droll work from The Edge or those guys in all the bands that sound happily alike. Tashi Dorji wants it all and none of it. His self-titled cassette is a menagerie of different guitar explorations: broken fragments of bored plucks; sporadic noodling across the fret board; patient smacks of steel. All of it very good and worth many listens, to pick and choose with section of which song is worth memorizing. And you’ll want the ability to recall these melodies through the day in an effort to replace the dull sounds of our boxed-in world. Noises to make elevator dings more delightful, door bells more tolerable, and life a bit brighter. A nice tide to wash away the cynicism and crud.
-Tiny Mix Tapes