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Boomkat Product Review:
Providing an alternative slant on solo 6 & 12 string acoustic compositions, Steffen Basho-Junghans’s entry into Locust’s Wooden Guitar series sits alongside releases by contemporaries Jack Rose, Sir Richard Bishop and Tetuzi Akiyama. It’d be all too easy to group these Takoma-ites into the same camp, but cleverly Locust have collected works by artists within that scene who each have their own specific agenda within the format. Junghans takes his cues primarily from Robbie Basho (he also takes his name from him) though on Last Days Of The Dragons, Junghans runs through a showcase of just how expansive his vocabulary as a guitarist is. After setting out his stall with the unique staccato raga of ‘The Immortal Chimes’, Junghans concocts a magnificent acoustic blues in the shape of ‘A Lost Moment’ and later a superb harp-like solo played almost exclusively with the open-tuned guitar’s natural harmonics. The longer pieces here (the title track and ‘Southern Crossings’) are most inclined to that familiar raga template, here executed with bell-like clarity and precision, whilst the shorter pieces break things up a little, providing a more conventionally song-like element. It’s this variety of approach that makes Last Days of the Dragons such compelling listening, regardless of how many solo acoustic guitar records you’ve already heard this year.