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Lost & Found (Sean Shibe)

Sean Shibe (electric guitar) (Pentatone)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Lost & Found
Works by Corea, Hildegard, Daniel Kidane, Oliver Leith, Meredith Monk, Moondog et al
Sean Shibe (electric guitar)
Pentatone PTC 5186 988   70:01 mins

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A year after Sean Shibe’s Camino shone new, contemplative light on French-Spanish repertoire from the 1880s on, Lost & Foundopens a further metaphysical space through the transformative power of the electric guitar. The album brings together ten, seemingly disparate composers between whom Shibe traces a journey that’s as unsettling as it is exquisite and profoundly searching, steeped in a kind of weightless wonder.

Utilising an array of multitracked sounds, from Hildegard von Bingen’s quickening ‘O Viridissima Virga’ to Julius Eastman’s beautifully unnerving Buddha there’s a sense of post-minimal, prog-rock inflected vastness that reaches from and towards the child-sage state suggested by Shibe’s title reference to Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.

While Hildegard and Messiaen represent mystical vision – the former’s ‘O Choruscans Lux Stellarum’ invoking stars against which the latter’s O Sacrum Convivium! seems an especially distant dream – Chick Corea’s Children’s Songs and Bill Evans’s Peace Pieceoffer a more worldly yearning that’s no less subtle. They are flanked by a gently meandering, ballad-like triptych from Moondog, and Shibe’s lovely arrangement of Meredith Monk’s cyclic Nightfall.

Alongside the Eastman, most wonderfully paradoxical are the three most recent works: Daniel Kidane’s Continuance expresses the ruminative unease of lockdown in glittering major-minor harmonies, while Shiva Feshareki’s VENUS/ZOHREH intensifies rippling arpeggio to strummed chord without ever quite arriving. Almost queasy in its relentless detuning, Oliver Leith’s Pushing my thumb through a plate brilliantly explores the fine lines between softness and brittleness, anxiety and bliss.

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Steph Power