29 November 2017


self released 2017, edition of ?

"Alexander is the solo guitar project of New Haven, CT native David Shapiro (Kath Bloom, Headroom, Nagual). After spending most of 2016 and 2017 touring behind an on-going series of improvised cassette releases that document the various locations Shapiro has lived, he settled down long enough to offer up a full-length LP of fingerpicking tunes. The nine tracks that make up Alexander are bound together by a melancholy sweetness that evokes a performer's wandering lifestyle and the characters they meet along the way. Sonically tied to the 'American Primitive' school of guitar playing, Shapiro distuinguishes himself with an exacting, almost academic focus, manipulating tempo and harmony with a confidence far beyond his young years. Where masters like Fahey and Basho drew from earlier musical lineage, Alexander incorporates a contemporary pool of influence, broadening the fingerstyle palette with patience and self-assuredness. Recorded on a guitar that Shapiro built himself, Alexander is an earnest and substantive debut that gives the listener a window into the player's intimate devotion to his instrument and the language it speaks. // Cover text by Cyd Goodwin. Recorded at Key Club Recording Company by Bill Skibbe. 180 gram vinyl pressed at Erika Records." - ALEXANDER's website

"Alexander's keen grasp of both intricacy and minimalism cement him as a top player in a time of heavyweights. A preview of what promises to be one of the most compelling albums of the year." - C/SITE

C/SITE predicted that a couple months back when they released DAVID ALEXANDER SHAPIRO's split single with ROB NOYES, both worthy of some "best new purveyor of new american primitive solo guitar music" award as i see it, with NOYES earning it last year with late-in-the-year bombshell -and my #1 overlooked album of 2016- in THE FEUDAL SPIRIT and SHAPIRO coasting to the front of the pack this year with this self titled full length vinyl debut, which exceeds my lofty expectations

i dig all these ALEXANDER tapes i have but none of em prepared me for the profound impact of this unassuming modern day private press masterpiece - SHAPIRO straddles the deceptive simplicity of earliest FAHEY strokes of genius in BLIND JOE DEATH and DEATH CHANTS and the more overtly complex structures and themes of his early 70s spiritualized refinements in AMERICA and FARE FORWARD VOYAGERS

but the above write up is right on the money, there's a forward looking facet to ALEXANDER, as with all of SHAPRIO's music, really - there's a wild hair woven into all of his work -listen to NAGUAL or ELEXTRIC 1 for the most unabashedly ambitious demonstrations of this- but it's best incorporated here as an accent against a perfectly executed traditional backdrop - it's an absolutely brilliant less-is-more approach, moody yet meditative, bold yet reserved - a lit candle flickering in the dead of night, exposed and sharply defined with pockets of infinite darkness all around, capable of attacking with a brooding intensity akin to JACK ROSE's RAAG MANIFESTOS, but at half the pace and with a tenth of the notes, putting that much more emphasis and focus, lending that much more weight, not only to each carefully considered fingerpicked note and coolly strummed flourish, but also the awe inspiring spaces between, where, like the candle, it's as if SHAPIRO's guitar plays tricks on listener

contemporary vibe comparison is less in line with, say, GLENN JONES or WILLIAM TYLER, and much more in line with moody min-max'ers like MARISA ANDERSON -particularly THE GOLDEN HOUR- and CHUCK JOHNSON -particularly BLOOD MOON BOULDER- and to some tangential extent perhaps OJERUM's single line acoustic offerings - but i'm not sure i've been this reeled in by this style of music since i first heard FAHEY

tis the season for year end lists and thus letting stuff fall through the cracks, so make doubly sure to not let this one pass you by, it is a no brainer top five lp of the year in my book

pre-order here: