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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Ariel Boundaries' [SACD]
Artist - Michael Hedges

Sadly, the uber talented Michael Hedges died in a car crash in late 1997 (at the age of 43) which meant a great talent was cut down in life way too early. Hedges was a percussive guitarist who may have been partially influenced by early J. Martyn. Indeed, he was known to many as a new age artist because of his association with the Windham Hill label. Hedges could be more accurately described as a progressive guitarist in the tradition of Leo Kottke though, if truth be told.

However, here on the stunning Ariel Boundaries re-release on SACD, he is a more "grounded" spirit, that's for sure. Here we listen to more free-form guitar work, showcasing the expansive player he was - and on evidence here his work in what he managed to convey through strings and air is mesmerizing.

Ask anyone associated with this kind of music - in front or behind the scenes - and they will ALL tell you that Aerial Boundaries is certainly one of his records that people argue was his best. It's full of ambiance, virtuoso playing, character and well developed songs. It's one of those that you play and have to set on repeat because it'll be over much too soon!

In mean, simply put, other guitarists playing solo sound like, well, like guitarists playing solo; although there are exceptions like the aforementioned Kottke - especially when he plays 12-string. Hedges playing solo sounded like a guitar ensemble or one-man symphony!

In truth, and in closing, some of Michael Hedges' music requires listening in depth and other music is just a little "strange" for the average listener. But, overall, this crystal clear SACD CD is great and I would recommend it to anyone exploring guitar music of this genre.

Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical disc for audio storage, introduced in 1999. It was developed jointly by Sony and Philips Electronics, and intended to be the successor to their Compact disc format. Indeed, this SACD format can offer more channels (ie: surround sound), and a longer playing time than regular CDs.

'Ariel Boundaries' [SACD] Purchase Link