From the liner notes: Khonsay in the Boro language of northeastern India means to pick an object up with care, as it is rare or scarce. If the term Khonsay extends to the rarity or scarcity of a [fragile] item, then it's an odd (but colorful) title for guitarist Erik Hinds' second CD—the music is largely acoustic, but it's not exactly a solo album, and anything but delicate. Bringing together the Georgia Guitar and SS Puft (of which Erik is a member) Quartets, the album is broken into two suites—the first features both quartets, the second features the SS Puft guys. A short, unrelated introductory track, "Coronach," brings together six from both groups. This guitar collective produces music as intense as it is beautiful, churning out lines as lyrical as poetry and as gorgeous as painstakingly-knit embroidery.
Julia Powell conducts the GG & SSP collective on this more experimental suite, which features Hinds performing on the H'arpeggione—an 18-string "cello-Sympitar" which can be plucked, fretted or even bowed—along with classical guitarists Colin Bragg (SSP) and [GG members] Kyle Dawkins, Brian Smith, Phil Snyder, and Jason Solomon (GG); trumpeter Jeff Crouch (SSP); and drummer Blake Helton (SSP). "Settlement" and "Brainstorm" are counterset, like an overture and an incidental, with some shockingly loud notes (don't presuppose these guys to be sedate strummers). "Affirmation" is a sweeter, thematic number that consists of rhythmic strumming, partial mutings, and individual notes that ring out, all resulting in a trancelike mood. Helton finally comes in beside Crouch's succint trumpet delivery on "Onward," with requisitely freeform notes pounded out quickly on kick, snare & toms, diminishing back into silence with brushes on the snare.
Hinds' titular IS solo piece is a progressively furious one, meticulous & efficient as a surgeon's scalpel. Yes, it's time to rock, and Hilton, Crouch, and Bragg join in—Bragg's sinister electric lead on "Emergence" gorges itself on vibratto overkill and winds a serpentine trail down the halls of Hendrix High. Crouch's trumpet outro similarly writhes in agony, perfectly juxtaposed against Hinds' torturous bowing against a wall of feedback on "Detachment"—Hinds also plucks the H'arpeggione, effecting it to the tone
of an upright bass. The nine minutes of "Detachment" traverse the album's darkest territory; perhaps the effect is mostly psychological, but that positively warped vocal part—first evoking a crying baby, then a sobbing, crazed adult—is anything but tenuous. "Acceptance" encompasses the final three index points, and is an uplifting, slightly more contemporary-sounding
Enough with the iconic metal guitar "virtuosos" of old…for some seriously virtuosic & melodic players, Khonsay has a few of the best, and they're criminally unknown. Ultimately, this is a marvelous album that is nothing less than acoustical fusion that sucks rock, jazz, classical, surf and blues into its impeller flow. Brought to you by the fine folks at Solponticello.