As a kid, Monk guitarist/solo artist/producer Ric Hordinski fell under the spell of spiritual guitarist Phil Keaggy’s brilliant instrumental album, The Master and the Musician. Coincidentally, Hordinski played guitar on tour with Keaggy years later, the experience reawakening his interest in attempting his own instrumental album. Thus was born the Cincinnati-based guitar hero’s jaw-dropping wordless acoustic work, Arthur’s Garden, the CD release of which will be celebrated with a live performance at The Monastery this Friday.
“Phil told me about a record by Anthony Phillips, the original guitar player with Genesis, called The Geese and the Ghost, and I’ve been obsessed with that record for years,” Hordinski says. “I’ve wanted to do something not exactly like it but inspired by it. I did the piece for the WGUC benefit this year, and I had a handful of pieces around and I wrote a few more. It’s been so fun to not to take it too seriously, and not obsess about it.”
Equally inspired by John Renbourn’s Sir John Alot album, Hordinski crafted Arthur’s Garden as an acoustic homage to his favorite albums and artists. Other than the computers documenting the recordings, Hordinski used no digital effects on Arthur’s Garden (which features a cameo from Daniel Martin Moore), preferring to rely on “wood, wire and flesh” and the atmosphere of The Monastery to achieve his desired sonic intimacy.
“There’s no reverb on this album at all,” Hordinski says. “If I wanted something to sound further away, I stood further away from the microphone. I’m personally enjoying it in headphones. You can hear the room contributing to the sound.”
Seating for The Monastery show is limited to around 60 tickets, and the show will be pin-drop quiet — Hordinski will perform without amplification — so consider a babysitter. Going forward, Arthur’s Garden will see a January vinyl release, as well as a candid making-of DVD, shot by local photographer Michael Wilson. As a total package, Arthur’s Garden is spectacular.
“Arthur’s my given name and I’ve never used it, so it’s like a project and a pseudonym at the same time,” Hordinski says, laughing. “And the garden is the music ... I feel like it’s been cultivating for years and I’m finally harvesting it.”
RIC HORDINSKI plays The Monastary Friday, Dec. 9 with guest DANIEL MARTIN MOORE .