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George Stavis - Labyrinths (1969)


There is not much I can say about this extraordinary album except that it ought to be heard and it is sublime. Banjo interpretations of Ravi Shankar, John Coltrane, Earl Scruggs, and others. Infamously self-describes as, "Occult improvisational compositions for 5 string banjo and percussion." If that doesn't make you wanna know, then you aren't curious enough, and you should have yourself checked out.

If you are racist against the banjo because you were exposed to mediocre bluegrass as a child, then have no fear. This is the cure. Stavis' style feels mystically Appalachian but also strongly Eastern; heavily atmospheric, almost psychedelic, despite having no effects or embellishments aside from extremely minimal percussion that sounds like a spooky woodblock. These are sophisticated interpretations. No novelty in sight here. Real music existing in time. (source)


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