German painter and fingerpicker spins sunny landscapes on steel-string guitar, drawing on folk, blues and raga styles.
Steffen Basho-Junghans is one of the leading acoustic folk/blues guitars in Germany, his finger-picking style heavily influenced by John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho. He is also a painter, so his compositions have a decidedly landscape-ish element to them, evoking mood, atmosphere and color as much as they convey melody. His latest album starts with its title cut, a long, tranquil meditation whose dense and rapid guitar figures ornament an essentially serene, gradually evolving melody. For all its calm, though "Late Summer Morning" is a blurring barrage of notes. There's more space and reverie later in cuts like "Sky Dreamer's Gold" and "In a Secret Garden," where Basho-Junghans pauses effectively for thought. His work here has precision and playfulness, a caressingly loveliness that exactly evokes summer's soft heat. It is not as passionate and driving as, say, Richard Bishop's guitar work, or as bravely experimental as Glenn Jones (or later John Fahey), but it's quite beautiful all the same.