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Loren Connors - The Little Match Girl

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Artist: Loren Connors

Album: The Little Match Girl

Label: Roadcone

Review date: May. 26, 2002

I’ll spare you the whole Loren Connors story; that he lives in New York, that his ability to play electric guitar is threatened by Parkinson’s disease, and that he spent much of the '90s releasing records like a man aware of his mortality. Connors’ instrumental voice is immediately identifiable; keening, lonely, blue without recourse to blues forms. On The Little Match Girl, which is divided into two suites, he goes for a brighter and more reverb-soaked sound, with much less distortion than most of his late-'90s work.

The title sequence, which was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tear-jerking tale of a young girl’s death, is a particularly distilled example of Connors’ craft. Each of its six brief parts hangs like a mobile, reflecting light from slowly turning surfaces.

Connors stretches out more on the two live recordings that bookend the second cycle, “The Art of the Blues.” He’s joined by members of his band Haunted House, to mixed effect. Andrew Burnes undergirds his leader’s inexorable probings with a sturdy skeleton of bone-dry chords, but Neel Murgai’s daf (a Persian drum) suffers from indistinct recording.

But the meat of the matter is the six unnamed tracks that sit between the concert performances. Each doom-laden note stands out in bold relief, as stark and lonely as Neil Young’s playing on the Dead Man soundtrack, and just as affecting.

By Bill Meyer

Other Reviews of Loren Connors

Departure of a Dream, Vol. II

The Departing of A Dream, Vol. III: Juliet

Night Through

The Departing Of A Dream

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