Just in time for the holiday that inspired its name, comes Shawn Persinger’s Halloween Baptizm. A problem with much “guitar music” is that it is too much “guitar” and not enough “music.” Much as I love the idiosyncratic nature of the instrument, other than noise-based or ambient guitar, I prefer guitars playing music I can imagine being performed just easily on piano, horns, strings, or vocals. Shawn Persinger’s Halloween Baptizm is just such music. As I listen to him play the overdubbed parts on 6-string, 12-string, nylon-string, and bass, I can easily picture a string quartet of viola, violin, cello, and bass playing these themes.
I rarely write about books, perhaps because there are few coming out that seem to fit the GM format. Still, two relatively recent publications should be of interest to modern guitarists.
Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom, Before 1970 by David Toop [Bloomsbury Publishing] If you haven’t read Toop’s Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds, stop reading this and buy it immediately. For that matter if you care about modern music at all make sure you get around to all of his books. Into the Maelstrom is his long awaited first installment about the philosophy and practice of improvisation (both musical and otherwise). His erudite discussion leans towards England and Europe, but then so did much of the free improv scene. His personal relationship with many of the players makes the reading that much more interesting.
I put a year of my life into this book
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.
The pugnacious title did not bode well; leading me to expect a collection of “hey you kids, get off my lawn” screeds about the sorry state of today’s music and music business. I should have paid more attention to the subtitle: The Search for Balance in the Art, Technology, and Commerce of Music.
While the quality of writing varies from a cutesy rambling gumshoe parody to Will Ackerman’s terse summing up of the recording industry’s past and possible future, editor David Flitner has, in fact, assembled a well balanced, readable picture of the current state of the art and business of music.