Daniel Harris has a great beard, is known to play guitar barefoot (like either Grizzly Adams or a yogi on a mountaintop), and is the admiral behind Ahkbar–the newly-birthed instrumental solo project for the former Bostonian, now residing in Philadelphia.
Walls, his debut cassette (also available in hi-fi downloads from his Bandcamp), is comprised of a pair of calm and gentle long-form guitar pieces that use a variety of guitar techniques, crafted tones, nifty effects and requisite layers of guitar tracks to emulate the sounds of the natural and unnatural vibrations of the cosmos.
This sounds nothing like guitar music. If anything, Walls conjures the sounds of machines being turned on; their buttons and dials whirring as their electro-magnetic fields hum and coils charge. No robots. No scariness. Just consciousness gliding. In the midst of that space are the gentle spectral vibrations of heavenly bodies asserting themselves into this field with their own charges and wavelengths. And then there is us, floating through this sound-spectrum, constantly shifting position. This would be the perfect music to hear behind of time-lapsed film of plants growing, glaciers recessing, stars dying, or electrons colliding.
“EARTH” and “SUN” are both 20-minute (plus) pieces that lull the listener to a meditative space with the resonance and ebb and flow of intersecting sustained tones. Only occasionally drifting into creepy or jarringly dissonant spaces, Harris manages to strike a pleasant balance between movement and stillness; where flowing streams of consonant tones remain fresh for extended durations via a steady influx of harmonic and tonal variations.
This level of craftsmanship is not a big surprise from the significantly talented Harris, who is also known (or should be known) around the Boston area for his guitar-work in his mega-quirky meta-prog duo 3D Cosby (with Matt Ross). In that band he distinguishes himself from other guitarists by using his skill and effects pedals to do something truly different on every song (almost as if each song required a different instrument), but Ahkbar finds him settling into a single focused space. Whatever existed of his ADHD blessing/curse is completely vanquished (at least for the time being).
Download a preview of the Walls here, courtesy of the artist.