Revisiting Dan Phelps

We first interviewed Dan Phelps three years after the release of Modular, his collaboration with drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Viktor Krauss. His fourth release, Arc, continues his er, arc, of making records that employ great drummers (in this case, the legendary Jim Keltner), great guitar tones and technique, and an exemplary command of both live and studio effects. It seemed like a good time to pay Phelps another visit, this time for a wide-ranging discussion about his new record and his awesome gear.

Live Atmospheres: Dan Phelps, James McAlister, Steve Moore from Dan Phelps on Vimeo.

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Effects for Acoustic Guitar: ToneWoodAmp

Acoustic guitarists can seem shortchanged in the march to modernity through technology. The folks at ToneWoodAmps seem to be doing their best to change that. The ToneWoodAmp ($249 direct) uses a combination of DSP (digital signal processor) and a surface exciter to vibrate the back of an acoustic guitar, producing sound effects such as reverb, echo, delay, tremolo and more.

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Eventide H9 SpaceTime and Routing

Things have been so busy I just got around to checking out the SpaceTime algorithm that showed up in my February H9 Max app update. In addition, since my H9 Max review I have had my main pedalboard rewired, replacing the Electro-Harmonix Ring Thing with the Maxed out H9. The H9 covers all the sounds the Ring Thing provided—octaves, “baritone,” “Leslie,” “12-string,” ring modulation, and, of course, the H9 does so much more. Consequently, now seemed like a good time for an update on this amazing pedal. Since Brett Kingman did such a good job of demoing the various SpaceTime presets, I offer his video, and then will discuss my experience with the new algorithm, as well as how the H9’s pre and post routing feature came in handy on my board.

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Spotlight: Alexander Noice

Los Angeles’ previous generation of experimental music, often built on a scene centered by reedman Vinny Golia, gave birth to Avant-guitar greats Nels Cline and G.E. Stinson. The current generation is producing a new breed of forward thinking guitarists, exemplified by Jake Vossler and Alexander Noice. Noice, like Vossler, often performs with trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom and has also worked with Golia. Unlike Vossler, Noice doesn’t come from a metal background but a jazz one. His sextet music can get equally aggressive though, as it expands from jazz into post-rock and classical modalities.

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Spotlight: Jake Vossler

I have discovered a disproportionate number of modern guitarists through their association with trumpet players. Maybe it is the direct inspiration of Miles Davis, with his relentless search for the new, but Arve Henriksen, Jon Hassell, Nils Petter Molvær, Cuong Vu, Steve Bernstein, Christian Scott, Michael White, Paolo Fresu, Paolo Raineri are just a small percentage of the trumpeters who have been involved in experimental music in the last few decades. Often working with forward thinking guitarists like Eivind Aarset, Stian Westerhus, as well as “Davids” Tronzo, Kollar, and Torn, these artists have made some of the most interesting, truly modern jazz around.

Now add to that list Los Angelino Daniel Rosenboom. His releases, Burning Ghosts and Book of Storms on his lable Orenda Records both feature avant/noise/death metal guitarist Jacob Vossler. Rosenboom has also released Vossler’s duo record with drummer Aaron MacLendon, Versus. Vossler gets so many great sounds and textures out of his instrument that it was a revelation to find out that he largely eschews effects and uses an amp that has inspired many an argument in the gearhead world.

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