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Bill Frisell Documentary

Australian documentarian Emma Franz is making what looks to be a great film about seminal modern guitarist Bill Frisell. I contributed to the IndieGoGo campaign to help her finish and I highly recommend that those of you who have loved his music over the years do likewise. Let’s make this happen.

Bill Frisell IndieGoGo Campaign Video from Emma Franz on Vimeo.

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Act Now!: Slow Music

The premier outlet for adventurous music, Downtown Music Gallery, has a limited number of CDs by Slow Music, a supergroup comprising  Bill Rieflin (REM) keyboards & percussion; Robert Fripp guitar, guitar-like things, soundscapes; Peter Buck (REM) guitar and things; Matt Chamberlain drums and drum-like things; Fred Chalenor (Curlew) upright bass; and [the late] Hector Zazou keyboards and electronics. According to the DMG site, Slow Music was formed in 2005 as a way to create live  ambient/textural/environmental music in a live context.  Rieflin describes how, “openness and stillness become a part of the musical vocabulary, as well as density and activity. It can be both beautiful and surprisingly intense.  And, being improvisational in nature, you never know what will happen next, which makes it all the more exciting.”

slow-music-project

West Coast denizens take heed: they are touring right now in your area so don’t miss them.

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Reader’s Rig: Percy Adler

The new features are coming fast these days at Guitar Moderne. This one will be Reader’s Rig, where readers are encouraged to submit clear pictures of their setups along with a description of the signal path and how they use it. Links to video and sound clips will move the submission to the top of the queue.

For the first installment we present Percy Adler, a Canadian metalworker who makes beautiful atmospheric music and whose toolbox based rig neatly ties his two worlds together.

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Shameless Pug: All About Effects

I put a year of my life into this book

AAE

and Hal Leonard completely dropped the ball on selling it (no ads, no reviews, not in bookstores or music stores). It is, however available on Amazon worldwide.

I implore all my subscribers and readers to check it out for themselves and/or recommend it to their students, friends, family, or anyone (it is not just for guitarists) they know who wants a comprehensive introduction to the world of effects with a CD demoing each sound. End of pitch. Thanks.

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Roots Moderne

In the Jack White post I introduced the idea of a Roots Moderne section for Guitar Moderne. The response was quite positive so I am going to give it a go.

I want to be as clear as possible as to what I consider to be Roots Moderne. For the purposes of Guitar Moderne, something is Roots Moderne if it is guitar based and embodies a strong link to a popular musical lineage that goes back beyond the last 50 or 60 years, while adding elements that make it relevant to the present. Such lineage would include blues, country, jazz, African, Asian, etc. It also needs to involve some reinvention of the genre. You could say it started with Little Axe (who, with their blues/dub/hip-hop hybrid rate their own post); Jack White certainly embodies the concept, as does Dan Auerbach’s use of the momentary pitch shifting in this Black Keys tune.

To help flesh out the concept I offer some other examples that work for me.

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Pioneer: Tisziji Muñoz

In addition to sharing his own story with Guitar Moderne, Henry Kaiser was kind enough to conduct an interview with the wildly, underappreciated Tisziji Muñoz. A true pioneer of modern guitar. Though fleetingly mentioned here, in addition to his many accomplishments in the world of spiritually driven music Tisziji Muñoz served as a mentor to Paul Shaffer (yes that Paul Shaffer). That fact will become less surprising when you come across the traces of humor in his extensive discourse on music and the spirit. Prepare to meet Mr. Muñoz.

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Bill Horist and Jakob Riis

Seattle based guitarist Bill Horist and Jakob Riis embarked together on a short tour of the Northwest US in the summer of 2009. We interviewed Bill in 2012. Composer, laptop musician, improviser Jakob Riis is active in the fields of electronic music, sound art, sonic web art, improvisation and contemporary composition.

They convened after the tour to capture on record some of the musical magic they felt playing together. The Cessation Elegy is the culmination of this brief encounter. A limited edition of 100 copies is available on CD; the packaging is handmade, with gold ink screen printed onto black card. Digital versions will continue to be available. They agreed to answer some questions about the process of recording this serendipitous meeting.

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Pioneer: Henry Kaiser

Henry Kaiser has earned his Pioneer label not only by championing experimental guitar for over three decades, but by exploring the fantastical underwater playground of Antarctica. His massive output spans genres and cultures while never sounding like anyone else. He has collaborated with a who’s who of the guitar world from roots players to experimentalists like himself. His ability to conceptualize and clearly express his musical ideas in words makes for a fascinating interview.

Early Henry with Dixie Dregs Andy West on whammy bar bass

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New Jack White Video

JACK WHITE????!!! That retro, near Luddite musician who is always lauding the superiority of all things analog? In Guitar Moderne? Yeah that Jack White. I am hoping to launch a new  section in Guitar Moderne soon. It will be called Roots Moderne and will feature musicians who enjoy a strong affinity to roots music (blues, country, soul) while employing a distinctively modern approach. This instrumental from White’s forthcoming Lazeretto record epitomizes the concept, with its backwards guitar, fuzz on the verge of noise, and odd piano interludes melding with gagrage-blues stomp. And let’s face it—the video is awesome.

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Electric Guitar’s Future?

My friend Mick Taylor (editor at the British mag Guitarist, not the ex-Stones guitarist) demonstrates the Manson MB-1 & Parker MIDI, asking the question, “Are they the future?.” Since he asked the question in 2010, I think we can safely say, “Not yet.” But, with the new Fishman Triple Play betting on an increase of interest in synth guitar, that particular approach can’t be counted out as yet. As for the onboard x/y pad, I am still praying for a more affordable version soon. What do you think?

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