Folk Minimalist MP3

Charlie Schmidt‘s album Xanthe Terra, released this week on the Strange Attractors label, is very much in the mode of the late John Fahey, who was reportedly Schmidt’s friend and mentor. (Their close association reportedly resulted in some of the student’s recordings being misattributed to the teacher.) Schmidt, like Fahey, plays a disarmingly lilting brand of acoustic guitar, his emphasis, if that word’s even appropriate to music this soft, less on the lead or the rhythm than on the churning cloud of string formations in between. Strange Attractors has made one of the album’s tracks, “Acidalia Planitia,” available for free download (MP3). It’s a hypnotic piece, kept aloft by Schmidt’s silken playing, with clear echoes of why Fahey, for all his primitivism, remains a minimalist touchstone for some many ambient-minded futurists, from Jim O’Rourke to Greg Davis to Joseph Hammer. More info at

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