One afternoon several months ago, Sarah and I got home from work and started sharing the events the day. Somewhere along the line, Sarah remarked “Oh yeah, I heard this guitar thing on NPR that was amazing…” I had happened to have had the radio on at the same time and caught the tail end of it. With a little hunting, we found it was the “Celtic Fare” set from the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet’s album Air and Ground.

I used Christmas money to order it from Amazon. We knew we’d like it, since we’d already listened to the whole thing on Lala. Anyway, it’s been occupying a regular slot in the album rotation at our place now for a few weeks.

Air & Ground: LAGQ, album coverHere’s my take on it: we like it a lot. Sarah likes to put it on while we’re doing housework or other normal Saturday stuff, but you could sit down with this recording, study the educated compositional approach of its pieces and yield fruitful results. There’s also a dose of international influence, lots of really intriguing rhythmic variety, and a good balance of hummable melodies and dance-inspired music. Consequently, it may not be helpful if you’re looking for a guitar album to which you can put the baby down.

A few other strengths: it doesn’t sound like 4 guitars playing together just because the idea sounded fun. The textures are never overbearing or muddy; only clean arranging and performing here. Lastly, the variety of pieces means you can listen through the whole album without going “Whew, I’ve heard enough guitar for three weeks.”

From my limited listening so far, my only reservations are as follows: a few tracks sound just a hair dated to me (like mid-afternoon public television theme music from the ’90s… maybe it’s just me), and I reckon that a few tracks will be more abstract than some folks will care for (though it doesn’t bother us). So… while I haven’t sat down yet and given the whole album a dedicated listen, we like this. Hope you do, too.