I don’t usually write about pop albums, mostly because I don’t listen to much pop music and so am unaware of any modern use of guitar. I am sure there is, and if there is something I should hear please write to me. The New Dirty Projectors record, titled, er, Dirty Projectors, is one of those releases I couldn’t avoid, what with multiple features on David Longstreth (now the entirety of Dirty Projectors membership) in the New York Times. I have been peripherally aware of the band, but this is the first record I checked out extensively. I found some of the most interesting guitar sounds on a pop record since David Sylvian’s own playing, and use of Derek Bailey, on Blemish.
Sarah Lipstate has been a unique voice in modern guitar ever since she went solo as Noveller and began her distinctive looping performances. You can get the back story in my first Guitar Moderne interview, as well as in the one I did for Guitar Player . Much has happened in Noveller-land since then, so on the occasion of the release, A Pink Sunset for No One, it seemed time to sit down with her and find out how she has taken the one-time niche of guitar looping to the big stage with the likes of St. Vincent and Iggy Pop. An admitted gear-junkie, we delve into the goodies she is using, (spoiler alert: like Eno she eschews the comfort of the familiar for the excitement of experimentation.) But Sarah was also candid about her artist’s journey: how she came to these extraordinary opportunities, and why she decided to forsake Brooklyn for Los Angeles.
The Space Spiral ($195.00 street) seems on the surface to be a typical modulated digital delay, but as with many Earthquaker Devices, er, devices, it is something more.
Like their Dispatch Master, the Spiral Delay is designed around what their literature refers to as a “dawn of digital” echo processor. This lo-fi technology gives this unit a more analog murk that sits the delayed signal nicely behind the original. Despite being digital, the sound of the delays are warm and smooth, without any audible aliasing, even when mixed very wet.
This year’s winter NAMM was INSANE! Thursday was as crowded as a typical Saturday and it escalated from there. The noise floor was non-stop jet-engine level. I came home with ears ringing and NAMMthrax. Was it worth it? You bet. Three full days was barely enough to cover all the cool stuff. It opened with a terrific concert band doing a modern composition that incorporated either recorded or live recitations from young people (I couldn’t see from my vantage point) about the difficulties of growing up. This boded well for a forward-thinking show and, in fact, there were ample examples of manufacturers leaving the traditional behind to explore new territory.
Other than the upward trajectory of the business evidenced by the crowd, the only trend I noticed was the invasion of the pedal market by Greece and Brazil. As usual, NAMM often stands for “Not Available, Maybe May,” so stay tuned to the manufactures’ sites and guitarmoderne.com for updates, and, if you would like to hear me talk about this year’s winter NAMM, check out Matt Wakeling’s Guitar Speak podcast featuring yours truly.
If you haven’t got JamOrigin’s MIDI Guitar yet, all I can say is, “What are you waiting for?” From the start, it has been an amazing way to use your guitar to control synths, samplers, and all things MIDI—without any special hardware or pickups. With the finalization of Beta 14, JamOrigin has put the icing on the cake, adding the ability to split the fretboard, an awesome sustain pedal, and a new GUI, among other things. I especially like the way the new Deep Expressor effect allows me to turn my guitar into a banjo. Whether standalone, plug-in, app or all three, you need this product.