Blimp by James Beaudreau
Solo guitar album released in 2006. Twenty-four lo-fi recordings of (mostly) acoustic guitar improvisations.
…Guitarist James Beaudreau, playing both improvised and composed pieces and using editing as a way of making one appear to be the other, or else not, has made an impressive debut with this effectively recorded collection… Noise effects personal to the instrument—knocking, the previously mentioned squeaks—are enhanced in either mix to the point where firecrackers seem to be going off. It could be a barrage in praise of Beaudreau, since picking like this is always welcome.
— Eugene Chadbourne at All Music
These 24 mini-improvs were brewed up in the kitchen of Beaudreau's Brooklyn home, and the domestic ambiance is part of the charm, as the guitarist's musing Nick Drake-meets-Derek Bailey improvisations are momentarily upstaged by a passing plane or a noisy bird, or receive incidental percussion from the house's other residents (including the cat!) …The glorious retro-minimalist mini-LP design, too, is irresistible, making the album look like a previously unknown 1960s folk album.
—Nate Dorward at Paris Transatlantic
…These improvisations are played in an idiosyncratic style, incorporating terse, epigrammatic phrases—which can't help but evoke the spectre of Derek Bailey—and more lyrical folk stylings. Like Hans Reichel's pieces, they pivot in unusual places, so that "Hare", for instance, takes on a structural slipperiness. …[Java St. Bagatelles] recalls some of Captain Beefheart's guitar pieces, which were transcribed from tapes of his precocious beginner's piano—although Beaudreau's instrumental chops are far more advanced.
—Mike Barnes in WIRE magazine No. 270 (Aug 06)
LO-FI FOOTAGE FROM THE JAVA ST. BAGATELLES ALBUM
Things were a little different when I was making my album Java St. Bagatelles. Throughout 2003-2005 -- when the music was recorded -- I only had an optimistic hunch that what I was doing would eventually become an album. Mainly, I was just collecting the best improvisations I could muster on cheap cassettes & minidiscs. The primitive methods I used were fast, and needed to be, because to prep for a proper recording session would have killed the thing I was after. I preferred cassette because the mindisc gizmo was fiddly. In fact, couple of the tracks that made it onto Java St. Bagatelles -- and which, in retrospect, I would rather I had left off -- were marred by distortion that came from not tinkering with the machine enough before pressing "record".
My steel-string Yamaha guitar was left on its stand wherever I played it last -- that is, wherever I seemed to be playing better lately. And it had to be easy to pick up whenever I felt like I could play something, which was often at odd or unplanned moments. Sometimes I would try different corners in the kitchen or living room to see what it felt like to play there. Other times I wouldn't be playing well, but changing the direction of my chair would somehow open me up. I didn't have any repertoire, no props or tricks either -- the point was to play whatever music I could come up with in the moment. If it sounds a little mystical, that's because it was. I was operating solely by intuition.
And if this recollection sounds a little nostalgic, too -- well, that's because it probably is. I don't work the same way anymore: I'm not nearly as focused on one thing as I was then. Not that I'd trade it. I like juggling the different things I'm doing now. But I figure there might have been more to explore along the lines of Java St. Bagatelles, I just moved away from it before I could.
"Blimp" was improvised on May 21, 2005, a Saturday, and recorded into a malfunctioning minidisc player.
TRACK INFO / CREDITS:
Artist: James Beaudreau
Produced by: James Beaudreau
Recording Location: Home recording, Java St., Brooklyn
Instrumentation: Solo steel-string flat top guitar
Recording Date: May 21, 2005
Release History: Originally released on the album Java St. Bagatelles (2006)
Workbench Recordings Post Date: December 8, 2009
Blimp by James Beaudreau is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.