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Boomkat Product Review:
Here's an interesting one - 'The Great Koonaklaster Speaks' is an absolutely massive collection of tracks from the world of experimental folk and the whole basis of the compilation is that the tracks are 'tributes' to the work of the late John Fahey. By tributes they don't mean remixes or covers, which instantly makes these tracks worthy of a certain amount of attention I'd say and the artist selection should really speak for itself, we've got Jack Rose, Sir Richard Bishop, Badgerlore, Greg Malcolm, No Neck Blues Band, Ben Vida, Lichens, David Daniell and more, it really is a line-up of some of the best figures of the contemporary American avant-garde. What's more, the tracks are surprisingly anything but cheap Fahey rip-offs, instead of going the easy route and simply aping the great man's style the artists in their wisdom have done something truly interesting with the ideas and philosophies behind Fahey's work. I'll spare you the humorous spiritualism of the liner notes, but it seems all the artists have 'got the hang' of Fahey's macabre sense of fun - from No Neck Blues Band's radical Fahey-sampling 'Overcome' to Sir Richard Bishop's atypical droning masterpiece 'Hood River Lap Dance' it's all marvellously tongue in cheek while being incredibly absorbing and deep. Although all the contributions here are absolutely top quality, I think those that really take it a little further for me are the excellent hazy out-folk of Pumice's 'Ceremonial Knives' and the album's final act, the epic 12 minute 'Crossing the Susquehanna River Bridge' from Table of the Elements' own David Daniell. This gorgeous long-form track, which builds from fingerpicked guitar into ear-pummelling noise and layered field recordings is the perfect conclusion to this incredibly appropriate tribute. These kind of records always have the possibility of being totally mishandled, so all praise to Table of the Elements for doing it so darned well - an excellent disc from start to finish! Huge recommendation.