Peter Finger, Between The Lines- Ali Sinclair

In the middle of a mediocre week with mediocre skies and weather, this disc arrived like sunshine bursting through a leaden-grey autumn sky: like a fountain in a desert, like birdsong at midnight. Acoustic steelstring guitar, played solo, Finger-style... and among the best I've heard. Musical classification? Difficult... remember "Flight of the Bumble Bee"? Mix its drive and energy with that of the best jazz and rock guitarists, and a touch of latin Europe and the middle east, and you might have an idea of what Between the Lines sounds like--but better to listen to the music itself, and make up your own mind. Fingerstyle, Peter Finger-style, that's what it is.

Each track, from first to last, is beautifully executed. Spellbinding- how does he play that fast? how does he play that cleanly? where did that tune come from? - and fascinating. Peter's CD offers a "guitar book with music and tablatures" for Between the Lines. But I suspect that the book does not supply the hours-and-years of playing, and compulsion to play, nor the inspiration behind the music.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a Secret Guitarists' Club somewhere, where all these great-but-little-known musicians hang out and are recognised. Like another dimension to this world, this everyday world of commercial radio and mass-media marketing, where the mediocre are praised and lauded. Another dimension that occasionally forgets itself and gives us a glimpse of what music truly is and can be. I am just thankful that it does - that sometimes, the clouds roll back, and we see the sunshine beyond.

The title track is stunning, "Dialogue at Daybreak" is birdsong captured in the strings of a guitar while "Pictures" for some unknown reason made me think of a tranquil middle-Europa forest, and a cuckoo clock; why, I don't know--the picture was painted. And yours will be your very own.

Between The Lines is distributed by Rough Trade and was recorded at Acoustic Music Studios. For further information contact Acoustic Music Records, Postfach 1945, 49009, Osnabruck, Germany. (Telephone +49 541-70205, Fax +49 541-708667).

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