Tashi Dorji is a Bhutanese-American guitarist who conjures incredible sounds from a prepared acoustic guitar. His spirited improvisations—recorded live without any loops or effects—evoke a composite of influences from Derek Bailey to Mauritanian pulaar to the traditional music of his native Bhutan.
"Growing up in Bhutan with little access to music except random bootlegged cassettes and shortwave radio, I listened to anything i could find," Tashi Dorji writes in an email interview. He learned guitar by ear because "we didn't have music school, TV or internet back then in Bhutan, so we had to use a lot of imagination and improvise what we thought we heard off of a tape player."
Tashi Dorji arrived in Asheville, North Carolina as an international student in 2000. He quickly fell in with the vibrant punk rock community, which flowed into free jazz, noise, experimental and other avant-garde music. The Appalachian mountain town has become a real hub for experimental music thanks to longstanding acts like Ahleuchatistas, resources like Asheville FM, the shop Harvest Records, tape distributor Tomentosa, and labels like Bathetic and Headway Recordings.
Guitar Improvisations, released on cassette by Headway last year, sold out quickly but is available to download from the FMA along with his release sêp. He has also released work on Turned Word Records and his bandcamp.