John Fahey
Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice)


4.5
superb

Review

by ResidentNihilist USER (18 Reviews)
March 13th, 2021 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fumbling away towards The End.

John Fahey is a pioneer in so many ways. The man was one of the first to DIY his own recordings and self-release his own work. He was the inventor of the American Primitive genre and helped pioneer a style of improvisation that would go on to influence many.

He was also a hobo, a drunk and would shag anything in sight.

When someone coined him as the Charles Bukowski of folk music, they weren't half wrong. John Fahey's work came from a very primitive place as he was a self-taught guitarist with a keen ear for music and many of his songs have a bodged together, Frankenstein's Monster like construction to them. Indeed John Fahey once remarked in an interview that he had tacked the chords from a Vaughan Williams' symphony onto the end of a song again evidencing how much of a melting pot his influences played in the construction of his music.

Consequently the music tends to have a very stop/start feel to it but contrary to this supposed problem, it makes the music feel more human. Fahey hesitates with chords and strums them a few times before settling on a path or plays an idea slowly, gently at first before deciding to develop it. Likewise many ideas are dropped soon after they are developed. Nothing ever feels half-finished though and the dissonances always feel natural; not too harsh and jagged yet dissonant enough to provide contrast and to forward the progress of the song. Consequently this brings Fahey's music into the rare sweet spot of being planned but sounding fully organic yet improvised, which it was.

This brings us to Fare Forward Voyagers. It finds John Fahey embracing most of his eastern influences to the fullest extent, though no where near as much as contemporary Robbie Basho. This record also offers Fahey at his most focused with only three songs, two of which being raga-like extended 'improvisations.' On this record Fahey seems to hesitate less with less negative space involved in the music. He is more blunt and direct, at least when it comes to his use of dissonance and contrast. This, in particular, is displayed on the first track where Fahey strums and plucks as if he is almost angry yet the notes feel so strained they sound desperate. This is placed in abrupt contrast to a gentle plucking that sounds fragile and gives way to an almost apocalyptic anxiety. John Fahey has always been good at connecting his emotions with his music but here it feels at its most open in that he isn't just communicating contrasting musical ideas but journeys through states of feeling.

This is perhaps most evident on the final track where Fahey returns more to a blues/folk style while retaining the Modernist and Eastern influences. Some reviewers have described John Fahey's type of folk as apocalyptic and no greater example can be found than the title track where it builds from a hesitant yet relaxed plucking into a haunting yet sickly sweet farewell to a world about to be consumed by a mushroom cloud. This is, perhaps, Fahey's greatest work and stands as a powerful epitaph to all this man could achieve when he put his mind to it. Highly recommended.



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user ratings (81)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
ResidentNihilist
March 13th 2021


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First folk review, what do you think? Constructive criticism always welcome. This needed a review though.

DadKungFu
March 13th 2021


1088 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've wanted to do this review for a long time, life just kept getting in the way. Glad someone was able to do it justice.

ResidentNihilist
March 13th 2021


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man, yeah this one turned out surprisingly well. The album's a masterpiece though. You should still do that review for it.

GhandhiLion
March 13th 2021


11240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Do another one

Digging: Janet Bean and the Concertina Wire - Dragging Wonder Lake

ResidentNihilist
March 13th 2021


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Where you talking to me or dadkungfu Ghandi? Sorry wasn't sure that's all.

GhandhiLion
March 13th 2021


11240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

both, review his discography chronologically

ResidentNihilist
March 13th 2021


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I might try and do that even though there's a shitload to work through

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2021


5686 Comments


About damn time this got a review, always love to see some love for the folk shredders like Fahey, Kottke etc.

Damn solid review too, you came at the album from some interesting angles and described the music really well. Hard pos

Digging: Witxes - A Fabric of Beliefs

DDDeftoneDDD
March 14th 2021


17002 Comments


Hey bro tks for the rev! Litterally now I m jamming America during a countryside walk with the dog. Its sunny and the record is so good. And please take the Carlos Paredes rec seriously. Its not bluesy but it brings 'Saudade'. Pleased to meet you metal friend.X)

Digging: Motorpsycho - Kingdom of Oblivion

DDDeftoneDDD
March 14th 2021


17002 Comments


This dude is master.
Also I think is the 1st time I share a page with a Ghandi s 5 lol

ResidentNihilist
March 14th 2021


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers guys, I'll look into the folk rec Deftone, I'm always looking out for new 12 string guitarists so yeah sounds cool.

DDDeftoneDDD
March 14th 2021


17002 Comments


Yeah, I mean Carlos Paredes is THE cornerstone of Portuguese folk and fado ( Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity). Regarding our debate on eyehayegod s thread, definitely deserves other kind of attention.
Will jam this one asap, trully loved America, specially those 8 minute plus progressions. Simply amazing.

SandwichBubble
March 14th 2021


12703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool.

theBoneyKing
March 14th 2021


20179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pareses is great, and so is this!

ResidentNihilist
March 14th 2021


2050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah album is immense. Thinking of reviewing America next.

fogza
March 27th 2021


1250 Comments


Great review, will check this at some point, very curious to read your views on America

Digging: The Great Yawn - The Waves? The Tide and The Moon

GhandhiLion
April 10th 2021


11240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGHM4mxHMHc



Jimmy Page did it better

zaruyache
April 10th 2021


23785 Comments


the fuck he did


what are we talking about



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