Many musicians develop a strong bond with their instrument that often goes beyond the mere familiarity associated with a set of fine woodworking tools. In the case of the musician / violin maker, this can lead him deeper into his music and explore unique and untested waters. Buck Curran is just one example that comes to mind, a violin maker who understands the interplay of strings, wood and resonance and whose music is still a very personal journey of discovery.
William Eaton is currently the director of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Pheonix, Arizona, but in 1978 he released a private press album simply titled "Music By William Eaton". I've seen him described as a New Age guitarist, a term that has a lot of misunderstandings, although he seems to be pulled away from the commercialization that once plagued him. What it definitely is is experimental – a conscious choice of the musician. In his own words:
“When I started making instruments, playing the guitar took on a whole new dimension. From the conception to the birth of each instrument, new levels of meaning unfolded. Cycles, connections and interactions became clear when I thought about the growth of trees from seed to old age and the transformation from raw wood to the construction of a musical instrument. I was looking for quiet natural environments to play and hear the "voice" of my 6-string, 12-string, 26-string (Elesion Harmonium), and double necked quadrophone electric guitar. Deep canyons contained a nice resonance quality and echo. A starry night with a full moon provided all the reflection and endless space to project music into the cosmos. The sound of a bubbling stream and birds singing added a natural symphonic carpet to a melody or chord pattern. As I perceived it, everything took part in a random dance. Everything was part of the music.
“During this time I decided to record an instrumental album with music. The idea was simple; it would be a series of tone poems with no title or information, just the words "Music by William Eaton". the recording. These improvised songs have not been played since then. "
The Morning Trip label, which previously reissued albums by other guitarists, including Daniel Hecht's self-released debut album from 1973, re-released the album (July 2021) after its first reissue in 2020. Your description is:
The atmospheric recording techniques, mixed with a touch of the Fahey / Takoma line, ensure a listening experience that is similar to the mountain landscape drawing shown on the album cover. The experience may seem simple at first, but as with any great trip into nature, every time you listen, new details reveal themselves.
The album is divided into 18 pieces, all without a title, only identified by the page and number, e.g. Untitled A1. As I listened to it, the second track (A2) attracted me a lot; the opening ceremony paves the way for the bright finger work that follows. At 5:24 am it is one of the longer tracks on the album and leaves room for movement. However, one thing that this album doesn't lack is variety. While at first you might feel like consuming 18 tracks in one session is a demanding listening session, you will also find that you have slipped into the mood of the next track. Before you know it, you're halfway there. Small moments reveal themselves, like a distant bird call (second title below) or an unusual response … it is a unique listening experience that rewards the time you take for it.
It can be ordered through Bandcamp: https://williameaton.bandcamp.com/