News & Reviews: Recordings

REVIEW: Toulouse Engelhardt, "Mind Gardens: L’esprit Jardins"

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Solo 12-string virtuoso offers a new set of tunes that recall the Takoma Records sound.

by Teja Gerken
December 05, 2014

Toulouse Engelhardt has been called the “Segovia of Surf,” but long-time fans of fingerstyle guitar know him as one of the original Takoma Records artists (he released Toulousions on the label in 1975) as well as for his ferocious work on the acoustic 12-string.

Four decades after Engelhardt’s debut, Mind Gardens: L'esprit Jardins revisits a similar artistic vision. As on Toulousions, two nylon-string tunes bookend a set of 12-string pieces that take their strongest cues from the American Primitive school of fingerpicking. The fun starts right away, with the transition from the Latin-ballad feel of the opening track, “Nierika,” to the full-force 12-string onslaught of “Dom Perignon” keeping listeners on their toes. While many of the tunes on Mind Gardens recall Leo Kottke or Peter Lang’s contributions to the Takoma catalog, Engelhardt manages to wrangle Francis Poulenc’s classical composition “Sarabande” onto his double-strung instrument, and the melodic writing on tunes like “Huckleberry Meadows Forevermore” provides a break from the powerful, rhythmic hybrid picking/strumming that drives pieces like his arrangement of Dick Dale’s “The Wedge.”

Overall, Mind Gardens' considerable depth will keep your attention for repeated listening sessions. Fans of fingerstyle 12-string guitar won't definitely want to miss it, and anyone who enjoys a bit of psychedelia in their acoustic guitar work would do well do check out Engelhardt’s latest collection of tunes. toulousemusic.com.


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