Friday, January 3, 2014

Rafi Bookstaber - Greener Pastures (HUM 1001)

And I'm going where those chilly winds don't blow. Peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The other day I was listening to "Rain and Snow" from the Dead's 02-13-70 Fillmore East show. It felt right given the blustery weather of late. As Jerry belts out, "And I'm going where those chilly winds don't blow" I almost concurrently look to my record crate, in which Rafi Bookstaber's Greener Pastures glows next to the candlelight. "That's where I want to go next" I say to myself. Greener Pastures, on Humito, finds Rafi crafting bucolic, serene guitar meditations infused with yearning and observation. I often take refuge and find a path back to awareness through Rafi's solo music. Among it's many illustrious qualities, the music is comforting, reflective, and mellifluous. It's an intimate recording, the type that embraces the space in which it is played. The listener saddles up next to Rafi in the cozy "Remember Silver Spring...". Warm, reflective strums form the backdrop for soulful fretwork. The languorous "Ain't Nothin Blues" adds vocals, harmonica and various percussion to the mix. Rafi's vocals hover and echo next to gentle guitar. Later, he parts the clouds with an electric section that leaves a vapor trail. Moments of reflection placidly pour forth via tender finger picking on "High Moon". "Sligo Watershed Blues" may be one of the best tracks on the album. Rafi's musical ideas and playing are sublime in this track.      

 Rafi continues to release music through various outlets. Some of the solo stuff is released small-run style through his label, Azriel. Also, he disseminates heady lofi basement burners as a member of Mendocino. Those were some of my favorite tapes of 2013. The next page in that trichome-covered story is currently available through Tomentosa - a review will be on these pages next week. Aswara is the duo of Rafi and Paul, from Death Chants. They recently contributed to a track on MV & EE's, Shade Grown. Greener Pastures comes in a heavyweight sleeve with a paste-on wraparound cover that also accompanies the celestial Space Communion reissue, HUM 1002. For the person willing to do their due diligence, Humito and other Rafi Bookstaber releases may be located online through various distros and shops. However, after much searching there is likely only one copy of Greener Pastures left; and it's available directly from label. No samples are available, but by now you know I don't bring the crumbly commercial stuff to the party. Lets get lifted together with this otherworldly nug.  

peace and love, friends :)