I was contacted by Florent Paris, who about sent a picture of his pedalboard and asked about reviewing the two-song EP of his music project Hors Sujet (loosely translates as “off topic”). We don’t usually review recordings here, but his ambient combo of loveliness and drama was intriguing enough to instigate an interview.
Guitarist Jon Durant brings a unique sense of texture and melody to his instrument. His distinctive “cloud guitar” soundscapes and lead work have appeared on numerous recordings and film soundtracks. As executive producer of Alchemy Records, he has released recordings by other modern guitarists, such as Robbie Aceto, Wayne Krantz, and Leni Stern. His own latest release is Etymology by Burnt Belief, a project with Durant and Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin.
Seeing the Adrian Belew Trio at 12th & Porter in Nashville last night reminded me of what a great show can be. Though the venue made some missteps (chairs on the floor behind the standees, so if you sit you can’t see anything—really?!!), the sound was stellar. I had been warned to wear earplugs, but it was not too loud, even for one with tinnitus and hyper acuity issues. The balance was, for the most part, perfect. It was a small enough space to hear the drums in the room—always a plus. You can take a tour of Adrian’s rig here, and it fulfilled its promise: letting him access his historical sounds, while adding many heretofore-unheard tones.
A Little Thunder is a humbucker pickup that adds a bass signal to electric guitars with no physical modification (assuming you already have a humbucker in the neck position): no drilling, routing, adding extra strings, replacing 9V batteries, or using MIDI. You just need to remove an existing neck pickup, replace it with A Little Thunder, and pushing a button will add bass to the guitar’s lowest notes.
Modern guitar pioneer, Fred Frith, was kind enough to contribute to the feature I did For Premier Guitar on extended guitar techniques. His new record, a duo with saxophonist John Butcher, The Natural Order, is an improvised tour-de-force, with both players using extended techniques in a musical conversation of the highest order.