Joseph Allred Nightsongs

The Garden Portal label out of Georgia just released two cassettes by Boston based guitarist Joseph Allred.

One album, named “Aspirant” contains experimental sound collages and field recordings that reminds me of the times when I was exclusively listening to anything that was just one long drone, layered with all kind of crackling, humming and buzzing sounds.

These recordings are from 2015 and I remember Allred’s earlier releases were often a mix of those experimental pieces and his solo guitar compositions.

A year ago I saw Joseph Allred at the “The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose” festival and his appearance was that of a soft spoken and very gentle guy that reminded me a bit of Robbie Basho minus the super weirdness (as he was described in the “Voice of the Eagle” documentary). Joseph played a giant vintage 12-string guitar, that looked like a piece of furniture and the same guitar he is using for some of the material on “Nightsongs”. If Allred isn’t strumming the guitar frantically, he lays out some very minimal slow guitar pieces which appear to be partially improvised. In both cases, Robbie Basho comes to my mind again.

When I listened to Nightsongs the first time, I put it on without checking the song titles and had to stop what I was doing, when I heard a very familiar tune. It was Arvo Pärts “Für Alina”, that Allred arranged for guitar. If you know this song, imagine the same sparseness and beauty for the whole album. It’s highly recommended and available as cassette and digitally via bandcamp.