BLACK SUN ENSEMBLE : ELEMENTAL FORCES (US'91)
Psychedelic Middle Eastern Raga-Rock
Jesus Acedo is the quixotic leader of Black Sun Ensemble who, on the basis of his enigmatic recordings, has been hailed by critics as one of the most innovative guitarists of our time.Born on Christmas Eve, 1962 in Tucson, Arizona, to Mexican immigrant parents, Acedo was one of eight children, the only one with an interest in music. After the death of his father in 1975, Acedo grieved by immersing himself in music. He spent most of his early adolescence at the Tucson public library listening to Ravi Shankar and Led Zeppelin records. At this time, Acedo bought a guitar. In high school, he began experimenting with the unique tunings of his guitar that give his music what one reviewer reverently called "peculiarly mystical, twangy, meditative, Middle Eastern rock sound". Muze, in describing his style, said he can "spit blasts of dragon fire or conjure the exotic, iridescent mystique of peacock feathers with a single stroke."A self-titled debut album was released by Tucson's Pyknotic Records in 1985. Its extraordinary qualities led Acedo to sign a five-year contract with England's Reckless Records, and in 1988 the label released "Black Sun Ensemble" (1988), "Lambent Flame" (1989) and "Elemental Forces" (1991). These records were a critical and commercial success. At the time, Offbeat exclaimed that BSE was "possibly, the world's coolest band." After touring the West Coast with Camper Van Beethoven in support of "Lambent Flame" the Ensemble was captured live on the first side of "Tragic Magic" (1992) for Rough Trade. The second side was a magical suite of mostly acoustic pieces that presaged the extensive title track of the later "Sky Pilot" CD.The inexorable weight of personnel changes, drugs and unexpected success eventually unbalanced Acedo's mental stability. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1992 and spent the next two years in and out of local hospitals. During his breakdown, the band recorded the ill-fated "Psycho Master El" album for Tucson's San Jacinto Records (1994). This record was remixed and remastered in 1998 for Camera Obscura Records. The results were issued as "Sky Pilot" in 1999, which also included rare Black Sun singles tracks and a brand new 20-minute work called "Sky Pilot Suite". "Sky Pilot" got rave reviews by critics and sold well locally and internationally. The Ensemble began playing regular gigs, impressing a whole new generation of listeners. News of Black Sun's return to the stage was appreciated by grunge-rock legend Mark Arm of Mudhoney, who engineered a shared performance at Tucson's Club Congress in early 2001. In February 2001, Camera Obscura reissued the debut Black Sun Ensemble recording from 1985, again to extraordinary reviews.On the wave of recent success, Acedo has brought himself back from madness, poverty and potential obscurity. He is now recapturing his old fire by re-inventing himself, and is working to re-establish his rightful place as one of the key guitarists of our time. This was reinforced by the 2002 CD "Hymn of the Master", and even more so by the 2003 CD "Starlight". BSE continue to be a hit at annual SXSW festivals and have complete a new album, "Bolt of Apollo" for release on Camera Obscura in the second half of 2006.
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