The Italian guitarist Maurizio Abate is a rare breed - an experimental musician from Europe working within, and expanding the American tradition of Guitar Soli, an idiom first pioneered by John Fahey. Abate initially emerged within a diverse series of collaborative released over a decade ago, but, as the years passed, a love for his instrument, with inspiration provided by Fahey’s indication of its potential for application as a one man orchestra, prompted to him to embark on a pursuit of solo composition. This evolution was first highlighted in 2014 with black sweat’s release of A Way To Nowhere, followed in 2015 by Loneliness Desire and Revenge, both crucial documents with the labels efforts to support contemporary artists, bound in sympathy with the broader historical contexts they endeavor to construct.
True to broad tradition of Soli, Abate’s latest LP, Standing Waters, issued now by Black Sweat, is a fascinating hybrid - a kind of deceptive Trojan horse, the signifiers of the guitar playing party to a masquerade, which, to the untrained ear, might pass for American or traditionalism, but in fact hides far more challenging and complex depths. This is a form of classical music, joined, mutated, and growing from the distillation of a great many folk traditions from across the globe. It is an avant-gardism, shedding what we expect of that thing, for another coat. Across Standing Waters, carefully constructed melodies and tonal relationships unfold - the diaspora of the United States taken abroad, re-birthed in the rolling hills of the Italian landscape, imbued with their old and sorrowful sounds, pushed forward in the hunt for something new. A weaving journey of sadness and delight, unfolding through Abate’s delicate playing, concluded, not unlike the second side of Fahey famed Requia, with hint toward the true meaning of what has transpired - a wild cacophonous passage of organized sound. A wonderful entry in Black Sweats already astounding catalog, and an important step in the world of contemporary guitar playing. Essential for any fan John Fahey, Jack Rose, or Glenn Jones.