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William Ackerman

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William Ackerman - It Takes A Year [Windham Hill WHS C-1003] (1977)

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ITEM# SR-WIWHSC1003
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

William Ackerman

Title:

It Takes A Year

Released: 1977
Label: Windham Hill
Catalog: WHS C-1003
Genre: Folk, New Age


T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter
02 Balancing
03 The Impending Death Of The Virgin Spirit
04 It Takes A Year
05 The Townshend Shuffle
06 A Tribute To The Philosophy Of James Estell Bradley
07 The Search For The Turtle's Navel
08 Rain Sequence (From The Townshend Shuffle)
09 The Rediscovery Of Big Bug Creek, Arizona
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Album Review

Jim Esch [allmusic.com]

The lyrical strains of "The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter" (the memorable opener on William Ackerman's second album) confirm that the artist was on to something huge in popular music. Nobody knew what to call this new breed of gentle instrumental adventurism. It Takes a Year, like all the early Windham Hill albums, was a breath of pure air at a time when pop music was stuffed with commercialization and irrelevance. Ackerman adeptly blended folk, bluegrass, jazz, and classical influences into an accessible, mild-mannered hybrid style, strong on emotional expression and lyrical depth. Ackerman's solo technique is not showy, and others like Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges may have been more virtuosic in the chops department, yet Ackerman's trump card is his impressionist command of the acoustic guitar. His use of alternate tunings, overdubs, and a sensitive ear for melody helped to trademark this uncluttered sound, tuneful and rich in harmonic overtones. Some of the up-tempo numbers like "The Townshend Shuffle" have a bluegrassy flavor and, in general, the folk influences are readily apparent. But ultimately the music, much of it composed in the early '70s, stands out because it sheds the musical labels and carves its own space -- deep emotional sentiments set into calm and reflective backgrounds. It's an open-ended sound, well suited to the spaces of California and the Western U.S. from whence it grew. Although the production quality varies from tune to tune making it a less consistent set than the follow-up Childhood and Memory, It Takes a Year is historically important for new age collectors because it built upon Ackerman's debut and set the mold for things to come.


William Ackerman - Childhood And Memory [Windham Hill WHS C-1006] (1979)

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ITEM# SR-WIWHSC1006
Ratings: C=VG; LP=VG

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Artist:

William Ackerman

Title:

Childhood And Memory

Released: 1979
Label: Windham Hill
Catalog: WHS C-1006
Genre: Rock, Folk, World, & Country


T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Wall And The Wind
02 The Velvet Gentleman
03 Anne's Song
04 Childhood And Memory
05 Sunday Rain
06 Seattle
07 Three Hesitant Themes
08 Murray's Song
09 Gideon
10 Bodie
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Album Review

Jim Esch [allmusic.com]

The last of William Ackerman's '70s albums is an accomplished set of reflective solo pieces for acoustic guitar, and further solidified Ackerman's role as a new age pioneer. The lyrical pieces are contemplative, delicate, and gently melodic, with enough structure to keep them from turning into musical wallpaper -- much the guitar equivalent of George Winston's Windham Hill piano work. Intimately recorded tunes like ''The Wall and the Wind'' and ''The Velvet Gentleman'' are pastoral, wistful, and almost nostalgic in their longing for a simpler time. ''Seattle'' demonstrates Ackerman's folk/bluegrass abilities, with a more vigorous rhythmic drive than is found on most of the other tracks. The banjo accompaniment on a couple tracks adds to the folky flavor. It's an easy listen: consistent and zen-like in its deft, simple technique and production setting. Whereas Ackerman would be adding a bit more instrumentation on subsequent albums, Childhood and Memory pretty much sticks to the basics.


William Ackerman - Passage [Windham Hill WH-1014] (1981)

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ITEM# SR-WIWH1014
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

William Ackerman

Title:

Passage

Released: 1981
Label: Windham Hill
Catalog: WH-1014
Genre: New Age


Matrix / Runout (Side A):
WH-1014-A SH5 / SLM [triangle] 672 / 1-2

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
WH-1014-B SH4 / SLM [triangle] 672-X / 1-1
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Remedios
02 Processional
03 The Impending Death Of The Virgin Spirit
04 Pacific I
05 The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter
06 Hawk Circle
07 Anne's Song
08 Passage
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William Ackerman - Past Light [Windham Hill WH 1028] (1983)

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ITEM# SR-WIWH1028
Ratings: C=VG; LP=NM-

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Artist:

William Ackerman

Title:

Past Light

Released: 1983
Label: Windham Hill
Catalog: WH 1028
Genre: New Age
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Visiting (1982)
02 Garden (1979)
03 Three Observations Of One Ocean (1980)
04 Pacific II (1980)
05 Synopsis (1983)
06 Ventana (1983)
07 Three (1983)
08 Synopsis II (1983)
09 Rain To River (1975)
10 Night Slip (1982)
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Album Review

William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]

For his fifth album, Ackerman added new instrumental colors to his guitar work. Especially notable are Michael Manring's bass playing and the one-track "Garden," featuring The Kronos Quartet. The added instrumentation serves only to accentuate Ackerman's typically inventive playing.


William Ackerman - Conferring With The Moon [Windham Hill WH-1050] (1986)

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ITEM# SR-WIWH1050
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

Please allow two to three weeks for delivery.

Artist:

William Ackerman

Title:

Conferring With The Moon

Released: 1986
Label: Windham Hill
Catalog: WH-1050
Genre: Classical, New Age, Contemporary


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Conferring With The Moon
02 Improv 2
03 Lago De Montaņas (Mountain Lake)
04 Big Thing In The Sky (For Jess)
05 Climbing In Geometry
06 The Last Day At The Beach
07 Singing Crocodile
08 Shape Of The Land
09 Conferring With The Moon (Solo)
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Album Review

Jim Esch [allmusic.com]

Will Ackerman continued weaving textures explored three-years before in Past Light, his deft guitar accompanied by side instruments such as bass, lyricon, violin, English horn, piano, cello, charongo, and zampona. The all-digital 1980s production is more heavily affected, thinner and more brittle than his early albums, yet despite the dated production, Ackerman moodily evokes a dark, quiet: dare we say 'lunar' ambience? Ackerman's guitar is content to settle into repetitive minimalist patterns, opening up a spacious canvas for the complementary instruments. Reflective and inquisitive, Conferring With the Moon has an idle, dreamy quality.

William Ackerman's Biography

William Ruhlmann [allmusic.com]

Will Ackerman has gained prominence both as a musician and a businessman, and at least one of those occupations seems to have been unintentional. Though Ackerman has played guitar since the age of 12, when he dropped out of college it was to become a carpenter, and his first company was called Windham Hill Builders. But Ackerman composed guitar music for Stanford University theater productions, and the encouragement of friends led him to record an album of his tunes, In Search of the Turtle's Navel, in 1976. The album was surprisingly successful, and Ackerman found himself in the music business.

Since then, Ackerman has continued to record his own albums, to produce Windham Hill albums for such other artists as George Winston, Alex de Grassi, and Liz Story, and to serve in various capacities in the record company. (He stepped down as CEO in 1986; his function now primarily concerns A&R, the liaison between a record company and its artists.) Though Ackerman has long since sickened of the new age tag, threatening physical violence against anyone categorizing Windham Hill's music with the term, he had more to do with the rise of acoustic-based instrumental music as a popular form in the '70s and '80s than anyone else.
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