“Pieza Para Guitarra Afinada”
C90 (Pilgrim Talk)

“Piece for Tuned Guitar,” which is how you say “Pieza Para Guitarra Afinada” in English (I had no idea), is exactly what to expect from Cristián Alvear over the course of these 90 minutes. The guitarist patiently allows his careful “melodic cells” to settle and grow within themselves, his acoustic plucking a study in discipline and focus. Drawing from Erik Satie’s “Vexations,” Alvear presents a single 90-minute piece that unfolds like clockwork.

But that all sounds like promo copy doesn’t it? What it doesn’t say is Alvear’s playing is hypnotic, likely to put you into a deeply meditative state if you’re so inclined or not careful enough. I was once hypnotized at a Renaissance Faire, and I believe I was made to act like some barnyard animal or another. (I had seen the show before, so I was aware of what could POSSIBLY happen.) I hope Alvear does not have any nefarious tricks up his sleeve, because I will certainly NOT eat weird things or pretend I’m an airplane or wet myself in public again.

Haha, did I say “again”? I meant “ever.”

But if someone drops Satie’s name in reference to their work, I’m in. This is a long damn tape, I’ll give you that, but it’s absolutely mesmerizing. Prepare yourself for some deep listening before you pop this one in, and set your tape player on auto reverse, because I have a feeling if you simply let it go, over and over, you’ll get to some pretty interesting places in your mind. Give it a shot, let me know how it goes.

Cristián Alvear

Pilgrim Talk