It doesn’t sound like a guitar.
But I know you like guitars, so don’t let that put you off.
It sounds less like an instrument, in fact, than many voices - swooping and surrounding the listener. Whispering lovely nonsense-poetry in one ear while its shadow quietly circles you and then shouts abominations in the other ear.
You know Forbidden Planet? Yeah, sort of like that. Not music so much as a real-time dialogue of different distinct voices, each with their own character.
Except it is a guitar. One guitar. All recorded live, improvised, with no edits or overdubs.
What’s more, this is Tashi Dorji’s first ever electric guitar release. His previous cassettes and download albums have stoked up feverish praise from fans. In a recent interview feature on Tashi in The Wire, Ben Chasny explained he was so impressed with Tashi’s gorgeous acoustic improvisations that he formed a label - Hermit Hut - specifically to put out Tashi’s music.
Ben Chasny - one of the greatest guitarists of the 21st Century!
And it didn’t end there, guitar shamans from Sir Richard Bishop to Bill Orcutt have been lining up to pay their respects.
As to how well Tashi makes the transition from acoustic to electric - it sort of simultaneously sounds nothing and everything like his previous releases. Which means it is EXCITING. It’s no less communicative than that minimal coding of acoustic guitar data, but the sound now shimmers and flutters and fades in and out and crashes in tones of pure gold.
It could be the best thing this guitarist - already one of the very best of his generation - has recorded so far. Fuck. Imagine what he’s going to do next.
Praise for blue twelve:
"Before you read this 'review' you should do one thing: Buy this album. It's a glorious LP of subverted sounds, incredible guitar showmanship and some of the most musically-impressive improvisation on the market. This is Post-Rock without the rock, Jazz but fucked up, punk with more anarchy and less aesthetic. If you still aren't certain with what to expect, just go buy the album. A guitar that sounds like razor blades dragged across the face of impending doom. A guitar that sounds like Godzilla crashing an orchestral performance set in a warehouse stocked with pessimism and confidence. A guitar that sounds like a tree being felled by a fighter jet's depression. Got it? If so buy the album. If not, buy the album. All in all, Tashi Dorji's Blue Twelve can only be summed up by actually listening to it. The beauty of the album lies in it's desire to evoke fantastical melodies that avoid the expectations of normal guitar sounds. Tashi is incredible, and if you need proof of that, maybe buy the album." - 7bitarcade
"Blue Tapes' twelfth is another triumph, and Tashi Dorji a tremendous new voice bringing together dissonance and melody in a fresh and unexplored middle ground. He's perhaps the most exciting guitar improviser to emerge since the late, great Derek Bailey passed on, and like Derek Bailey, this music initially sounds like Hell. Listen closely though, and you'll soon find heaven." - The Quietus
"Tashi Dorji is my favorite guitarist right now. Like his previous releases, Blue Twelve sounds like an alien landscape, full of clanging metal and vaguely familiar yet uncomfortable melodies. Dorji bends his steel strings to the point of breaking before rolling it back, settling down, and starting all over. Keep an eye out for this fella." - FACT Magazine
""Blue Twelve is the first electric guitar release by Tashi Dorji, whose acoustic recordings have gained praise from guitar avatars such as Sir Richard Bishop and Ben Chasny. While his approach is easily transferable from acoustic to electric, the decision to plug in has enriched his playing with depths of tone and dynamic possibility - all down to the corona of reverb from his Fender Deluxe amp and the overtones it sustains from his hammering of harmonic intervals. Although slight effects, they furnish rich seams of enquiry for the North Carolina based guitarist's crabwise improvisations. Dorji grew up in Bhutan at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Bootlegged tapes and radio discoveries fostered an omnivorous appreciation of music, from punk rock to Baroque via flamenco and jazz, and encouraged Dorji to reconcile what he heard through improvising. This synthesis reaches its apex on this release, with improvisations that are as genre negating and sound-on-sound focused as anyone looking at the guitar after Derek Bailey. It's a highly personalized reconciliation of modes that negates any particular style while announcing a new talent in solo guitar improvisation." - The Wire