Every now and then I will discover a guitarist in a certain context and then find out I have already heard his or her work in another band. I found Trapist’s minimalist masterpiece, Ballroom many years ago, but when I discovered Martin Siewert’s Radian video’s more recently was unaware that he was the guitarist from Trapist. Part of the thriving Viennese experimental scene that gave us Christian Fennesz and Burkhard Stangl, his solid grounding in American roots music almost makes him a candidate for Roots Moderne. Siewert’s actual output though retains only hints of that inspiration—enough to lend it an emotional weight not found often enough in deeply experimental music.
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The folks at the Gig Rig posted this amazing video of how they put together Radiohead guitarist, Ed Obrien’s pedalboard, a Pedaltrain Grande with their G2 switching system, Loopy2 routing box, powered by their Generator and Isolator power system. Almost everything here is available off the shelf—nothing is custom made. The pedals include a Fulltone Clyde wah pedal, a Digitech Whammy controlled by a Molten Voltage MIDI 2 pedal, a Molten Voltage OZ Looper controller (no doubt controlling the Strymon Timeline, a Klon and Hot Cakes overdrives, a vintage CSL Super Fuzz (a/k/a Sola Sound), an Eventide H9, a Diamond Tremolo, a Dinosaural compressor, an MXR Flanger, a volume pedal and an Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man.
Check it out.
Check out the Maelstrom record by Stian Westerhus & Pale Horses and you will hear echoes of Scott Walker, Radiohead, and Tim Buckley. Don’t worry, the latest offering by experimental guitar god Westerhus features plenty of the exotic guitar tones we have come to expect from the now former Nils Petter Molvær sideman’s, while adding vocal driven tunes sung in English. Who would have imagined Westerhus would have a singing voice as compelling as his instrumental one? Here, the Norwegian axe-mangler shares the lowdown on his new band with cohorts Erland Dahlen on drums, and Øystein Moen on keys, as well as his need for pedals that “klonk.”
Andy Othling’s site, Reverb Nerds, is a treasure trove for modern guitarists who use ambience (reverb, delay, etc.) in their music. His Ambient Tips are well shot and infomative, as are his gear demos. If you ever wondered how to get cool sounds out of the more esoteric Earthquaker devices, Andy is your man. Also check out his personal site for more gear geeking and tips about music promotion.
The Greatest Show on Mars, the latest outing from Clothesline Revival, fully embodies the Roots Moderne aesthetic; Conrad Praetzel’s finger-picked and slide guitar, along with occasional banjo, join beats and synths in a tightly woven tapestry, often accompanying samples of Lomax recorded accapella singing in a way that seems utterly natural. For his first three Revival projects, Praetzel was joined by fellow Bay Area resident Robert Powell on pedal steel, lap steel and various other stringed instruments, as well as a rotating cast of actual vocalists recreating the spirit of American roots. This time Praetzel is alone—just a man and his studio.
Go to A Sixteen Sec Delay’s channel for the rest of the concert.
Ryan Fiegl is not into heavy self-promotion, but he did send in a picture of his rig. With a little detective work, I discovered he is in Denver Colorado, and does both epic, ambient solo looping and interesting improv with a trio. You can garner some more info at his website, and from his description of his rig.
In an effort to encourage Guitar Moderne readers to submit their rigs for the new Reader’s Rig section, I proffer my own basic board. I thought it also might be educational to explain how I arrived at this particular configuration. It involved decades of experimentation with dozens of effects, as well as the knowledge gained by being in the lucky position of reviewing and writing about pedals for many years. That said, I am as neurotic as any other guitarist, so rest assured the experimentation is not over, nor ever likely to be.
As I described in my post on the Jazzmaster, the original Jazzmaster bridge is problematic in a number of ways: often buzzing and failing to retain the strings seated in their saddles when any heavy string bending ensues. I have been reading about the Mastery Bridge —an aftermarket replacement bridge that claims to solve these problems—for a couple of years.