Intuite

Pierre Bensusan

Favored Nations Entertainment, 2001

http://www.pierrebensusan.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/02/2001

There is no doubt that Pierre Bensusan is one of the most talented guitarists alive today. In an age where kids worship a six-string axeman who can play ten thousand notes a second, Bensusan takes a more melodic approach to his playing. Can he play fast? Sure... but he makes each note count for something.

Yet there is something slightly unsatisfying about Intuite, his latest disc (and first entirely solo acoustic release). Maybe it's because I first became familiar with Bensusan's guitar work as part of a collective of Celtic fingerstyle guitarists, and I expect almost anything he does to be in that vein. Yet even when he deviates into more modern styles of composition, he still shows he's one of the best out there in his genre.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It was hard for me to get past the muted tones on the strings in the opening of "Kadourimdou," the first track on Intuite. While Bensusan does move into fancy fingerwork, this particular effort almost feels like he's trying a little too hard to break out of a traditional sound and into one occupied by artists like David Pritchard, Doug Smith, Leo Kottke and, to an extent, Earl Klugh. (There are moments on Intuite that remind me of Klugh's Solo Guitar effort.) Still others, such as the title track, I'm still not positive just what Bensusan was trying to accomplish with the music, but it doesn't quite click for me like many of his other works have. "Intuite" almost sounds Oriental at times, as if Bensusan was trying to capture the power of Japanese music in his own unique style.

But Bensusan does not abandon a more traditional tone completely; tracks like "The Welsh Arrow" and the absolutely beautiful track "L'alchimiste" are so overpowering that the listener may feel like they're being transferred to another time in some far away land. And there are other tracks, such as "So Long Michael," which one can only imagine the emotion behind. (The track is dedicated to Michael Hedges, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1997.)

Despite some of my misgivings, Intuite has some brilliant moments on it. "Bourrée Voltige" is lovely beyond words, showing the listener just how powerful the acoustic guitar can be. Likewise, "En Route From Scarborough" (which works in some moments from the traditional song) puts a new twist on a familiar piece of music and presents it in a way that no one could have ever dreamed of beforehand.

Sure, there are moments on Intuite when one has to wonder just what Bensusan is trying to accomplish, and whether he met his unspoken goals. But for each of these moments, there are several others which offer much more insight into the musical mind of the six-string genius. Intiute is a challenging listen at times, but it's a challenge well worth taking.

2001 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Favored Nations Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Favored Nations Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.