Rag Lore – “Sabah el Mitragyna Reveries”

Posted by on June 7, 2013

Rag Lore on Space Slave

From my perspective, we’ve all been living in a post-Daniel Bachman world for a while; a talented guitarist and pioneer of some incredible new folk, Bachman seems exemplary of a new generation of young outsider songwriters who in the purity of their craft transmit a kind of precocious naïveté, as if the perspective they share had gone away from the world for a while and then returned naturally. That isn’t to say there’s anything precious about their recordings, just that they are so confident that appreciating their subtlety requires a radical re-interpretation of the usual influences; folk, Americana, blues, and a wild range of contemporary string ragas. Rag Lore emerges from the same generation of easy-to-listen-to radicals, skewed farther towards the mystical traditions of other lands, much on display with his most recent recordings on tape from Space Slave Editions, CD from Dying For Bad Music (who’ve also released Bachman’s work), and digitally from Poor Farm Editions. The album’s title, Sabah el Mitragyna, lends it significant color; “sabah” is singer and “Mitragyna” is a lightly toxic type of southeast Asian plant consumed as a stimulant. Sixty minutes long and separated into side-spanning tracks, the cassette presents the a-side, “Al-Ruh”, or “spirit”, and “Lament al-Zindiq”, Zindiq having been a tragic Muslim poet of the Al-Andalus. I have it on no authority but my own that these may be reference points for the tape, but I’d like to think I haven’t strayed too far. Now that I’m finishing this post up, I’ve read on Weed Temple that Rag Lore’s “Matthew Boteilho”, a longtime lap-steel guitarist,  is “about to make a big move to Cairo, Egypt from Houston, TX”; appropriate enough considering Texas’ fecund experimental psych scene could claim as much influence on these recordings as his new place of residence, if not more. Whatever the case, Sabah el Mitragyna is a gorgeous collection of improvisations and easily adds a new light to the constellation of new-folk mystics at work today.

Stream: Rag Lore – “Sabah el Mitragyna Reveries”