Boomkat Product Review:
First vinyl edition of a transfixing 2013 masterclass in free improv by Tashi Dorji - seat-edged with inimitably wayward, post-folk finger-picking and rapturous shred for fans of Derek Bailey, Okkyung Lee, John Fahey, Sir Richard Bishop, Chris Corsano
Formerly cassette-only, ‘Tashi Dorji’ is a remarkable self-portrait of the artist pronouncing his punkish decimation of folk and blues traditions. Encompassing studies in timbre and overtone, as inspired by gamelan, thru to works recalling baroque chamber music, or Derek Bailey’s dervish tekkerz, the album is rife with a rare sense of expression that flies in the face of convention and inherently speaks to the artist’s politics.
Those politics understandably stem from his relative outsider status as a Bhutanese native living in North Carolina, where he moved to study in 2000, and an anti-hierarchical and anti-captilist stance developed during years spent with anarchist punks which honed his sensibilities. It’s really not hard to hear that stance manifest in the arrhythmic angularities and perplexing turns of phrase to his music, and any comparisons to other styles - as we did above - are probably our pareidolic perceptions of pattern coming into play.
Honestly we find our eyes saccading wildly as though trying to pluck references from the memory banks when listening to Dorji’s work, which stimulates or even short circuits those links in-the-second, literally reprogramming us. And we’ll be frank, it’s much more pleasurable than the similar effect induced by Derek Bailey jams, producing tattered threads of melody and quizzical harmonic juxtapositions that are hard not to get snagged on in the intimacy of ‘April’ or elemental flow of ‘Sunder’, and pitch-warping twang to ‘Moves Southward’.