It is kind of surprising that Portuguese legend To Trips has never released a solo acoustic-guitar record. Having lent his considerable chops to projects ranging from underground rock in his own bands to what he has contributed to the work of other artists like Rhys Chatham, To Trips has a record of daring and improvisation that you would think would have prompted a solo exercise. Well, here ‘tis. Guitarra 66 is just that: a record that gives his room to move through his ideas, and to build off a lifetime of influences that range from traditional Portuguese, Cape Verdean folk and Cuban rhythms through an America of blues, punk and post-rock.
Sexy but biting, Trips’ guitar work owes much to flamenco, as well as to string-benders like Nels Cline. Of the dozen tracks, all instrumentals, you get the fullest sense of his passion and talent on “Electric Marrakesh,” “Traffic,” and “Old Times on the Blacon Jack.” There is some drone, too, and certainly a cinematic feel to these songs. Trips seems to be in love with almost every sound he’s ever heard, and he creates homes for all of them.
Guitarra 66 is stunning solo debut, magical throughout. Trips’ spare but fluid lines make this an acoustic instrumental record that incites thinking as well as dreaming.