Sean Smith
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Sean Smith

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Avant-garde


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"Sean Smith "Huge Fluid Freedom" from Music Emissions"

Sean Smith, though noted more for his acoustic guitar work, as a solo artist and producer, and his associating with such American Primitive-focused labels like Tompkins Square and Gnome Life. But, perhaps unfairly, his electric work has not been given the respect it deserves. Maybe that is because his acoustic work tends to appeal to purists? Whatever; a listen to his latest ought to give Smith a big win in any corner of the guitar world. "Huge Fluid Freedom" is a generous, daring and thrilling ride through the possibilities of both the electric and acoustic guitar, cementing Sean Smith as an American master.

All four tracks are stunning. "I Know You Are Tired, But Come. This is the Way." Blends a funky groove with raga, extending out with folk and psych. Rhythm section Marc Dantona (bass) and drummer Spencer Owen keep a solid rock beat, and they come in handy on all the electric tracks, giving Smith a place to return from his sonic explorations. "The Real," featuring a guest solo by guitarist Josh Pollack, is a surprisingly crunchy nod to Doom and Boogie. Jarringly, the next track, "Ourselves When We Are Real," is a gorgeous, occasionally insistent acoustic track, the kind causal listeners would come to expect from Smith; here he shows that there is still some deep emotional veins to be mined from American Primitive guitar. The closing title track, however, is the most surprising. Incorporating Zeppelin-esque Eastern-tinged metal with noise, Psychedelic freakout, Smith takes his electric ideas further than he has prior in any studio work. The final five or so minutes sound like early 70s Jeff Beck: majestic , deft and heavy.

"Huge Fluid Freedom" is a set of brilliant tracks by Sean Smith, easily one of the best guitarists we have at the moment. This is a record that will be loved by purists and improvisers alike, by guitar geeks and sonic astronauts.
- Music emissions

"Jon Pareles of the New York Times"

"The music is homespun and sure, serenely reverent and humbly concise." --On Smith's solo guitar work. - New York Times

"Sean Smith "Huge Fluid Freedom" by Ned Raggett"

The electric howl and buzz that starts Huge Fluid Freedom shows that Sean Smith, having taken a full electric guitar bow on album via Citay's Dream Get Together the previous year, isn't content to simply be known for his acoustic work on the solo front -- and the clipped, frenetic drumming and guitar that soon follow in "I Know You Are Tired, But..." further underscore it. Smith's more familiar sound returns a little bit later, but Huge Fluid Freedom clearly is a statement of purpose as much as just a title, a rampaging openness within the realm of guitar. The role models over previous decades are clear enough given the increasing interest in parallel explorations of acoustic and electric work -- Flying Saucer Attack, Ghost, Six Organs of Admittance, and more could all be named. But Smith's specific sense here is one of careful procession in the four songs; it's not quite as freewheeling as it sounds, not locked down completely either, but carefully compiled, like a DJ mix. The big macho metal start of "The Real" is definitely eye-opening in its own right but the title track might be the real winner in terms of Smith finding his new boundaries, overlaid guitar parts and more always seeming to be on the verge of meandering before taking another gentle but definite turn to a new melody or different sound, like the alternately playful then majestic soloing over the motorik beat that kicks in toward the end. There might be a meaning to calling a song "Ourselves When We Are Real" that features acoustic guitar from the start, pretty and resonant but still a bit stern in feeling, though opening up midway with a lovely, almost circular progression that draws the listener in to the full. - Allmusic


"Sean Smith" (Isota Records, 2005)

"Sacred Crag Dancer, Corpse Whisperer" (Isota records/Gnome Life, 2006)

"Berkeley Guitar" (Tompkins Square, 2006)

"Eternal" (Strange Attractors Audio House/Gnome Life, 2008)

"Beyond Berkeley Guitar" (Tompkins Square, 2010)

"Christmas" (Tompkins Square, 2010)

"Huge Fluid Freedom" (Strange Attractors Audio House, 2011)



Sean Smith was born in Northern California and started releasing albums in 2003 after his move to the San Francsico Bay Area.

While not abondoning his solo guitar roots entirely, Smith now performs with his power trio and is more focused on the electric guitar. His latest album, "Huge Fluid Freedom" was released on August 30th 2011 and represents his new and adept approach to composing for the electric guitar and ensemble. The album was produced by Tim Green of the Fucking Champs/Nation of Ulysses and released by Strange Attractors Audio House. The album represents a much wider scope of collaboration from his previous works. The result is a moving sonic experience ranging from straight up solo acoustic exploration to breathtaking cinematic soundscapes. The Fahey influence is still there, but now mixed with dark folk, Krautrock and doom metal. No corner of “epic” is left untouched.

Live and in the studio, Sean Smith always pushes the boundaries of what we have come to be familiar with the guitar. His works continue to grow in expression and ability and his performances are absolutely jawdropping. He blends exquisite technical skill with keen creativity, Metal with Americana.

His first two LP's, "Sean Smith" and "Sacred Crag Dancer, Corpse Whisperer" were solo acoustic guitar a la John Fahey/American Primitive and were released Isota Records in 2005 and 2006. These releases caught the attention of New York's Tompkins Square Records whose notice resulted in the critically acclaimed "Berkeley Guitar" (2006) and "Beyond Berkeley Guitar" (2010) compilations, which were both curated and produced by Smith himself.

Celebrated as a new arbiter of American Primitive guitar, his works were highlighted on compilations released by Takoma Records, and Tompkins Square and recognized by Acoustic Guitar Magazine and the New York Times for his contributions.

In 2006 he released the collaborative album, "Eternal" and began exploring wider sonic reaches. "Eternal" was initially released in a very limited vinyl edition by Gnome Life Records and was subsequently reissued on CD by Portland's Strange Attractors Audio House. With this album he gained endless comaprisons to Sandy Bull and Dirty Three. While predominantly an acoustic ensemble recording, "Eternal" displays Smith's first foray in utilizing electric guitar with a burst of noise rock at the album's centerpiece. In support of this and the aforementioned releases, Smith toured the US and Europe extensively, with a strong focus on California.

Furthering his exploration of the electric guitar, Smith joined the band "Citay" in 2008, a group known widely for it's virtuosic soaring lead guitar embellishments. For three years, Smith lent his lead guitar chops to the band in recording and relentless touring in North America.

In 2010 Smith released an album of holiday tunes entitled, "Christmas" on Tompkins Square Records.