If I had a dollar for every “think”-piece about the future of music, I could quit all my other jobs to concentrate on Guitar Moderne, and making more music. Still, I can’t resist adding my own two cents (like how I continued the monetary theme?). A trend I am observing is an increasing number of musicians equally at home with playing (often multiple) instruments, music technology, and creating video.
In my recent conversation with Ralph Gibson I posited that many modern guitarists who traffic in large part in noise are nevertheless highly schooled on the instrument, whether in classical, jazz, rock, or all of the above. Raphael Vanoli is one such guitarist. But more important, in his solo work Vanoli has developed the technique of blowing across the strings to a high art, turning the guitar into a kind of wind instrument. Add to that his unique dub/electronica duo Knalpot with Gerri Jäger on drums, percussion, electronics, synth, and Casio, and you have one of the more exciting modern guitarists working today.
There have been short clips of this available in the past of this group, with Palle Mikkelborg, Håkon Graf, Sveinung “Thunder Thumb” Hovensjø and Jon Christensen doing a TV special for NRK in 1978, but this is the first time I have seen the full concert. Thanks to Lasse Postmyr for uploading it to YouTube and Peter Freeman for posting on Facebook.
As a budding photographer, I was thrilled when guitarist Brandon Ross introduced me to Ralph Gibson through Facebook. It turned out that Ralph is not just a world renowned photographer, with work on display at the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the J. P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, but also an avid guitarist, as interested in the future of the instrument as we are. He has published two books featuring the guitar, Light Strings and State of the Axe (with Andy Summers http://www.guitarmoderne.com/pioneer/the-andy-summers-interview). The latter could serve as an analog version of Guitar Moderne, with its photographs of and interviews with many of the same guitarists that appear here. The pictures in Gibson’s first book of photography, The Somnabulist, are like a dream, not necessarily linear, but very illuminating. Our conversation proved to be similar, wandering off on tangents, moving at oblique angles, but centered by a shared vision.
In his video “To Bill” (below) it is easy to detect who the Bill in the title is, but Rocco Saviano also cites Avant-singer Mike Patton. Still, when not paying homage to modern guitar icon Frisell, Saviano’s music leans toward more towards the romanticism of his classical background, with emotion-filled melodies layered over consonant chords, rather than towards Patton’s aggressive sounds. In fact, Saviano’s lyrical style gives ample proof that noise is only one way to be modern.