My years of making music in New York City coincided at various times with Elliot Sharp’s. Our musical worlds, however, rarely overlapped. I was playing blues and country music; accompanying singer-songwriters, both struggling and famous; and playing in pop bands that were trying to get record deals (my more avant-garde efforts would come later). Elliot, on the other hand, was at the nexus of all the art that was pushing the envelope during that period, and is still to this day. I never saw him perform live or met him until shortly before I left New York to move to Nashville in 2012, and then it was in a wonderful duo performance with Mary Halvorson.
A few months ago, I met Ricky Graham at an Ableton Live event in Nashville. His melding of an 8-string Electric guitar with designing hardware modules, using and instructing about Ableton and Max/MSP seemed a perfect match for Guitar Moderne. We did a long Skype interview that revealed Graham’s history as a guitarist and how he got into the modular synth world. It was way too long for my arthritic wrists to transcribe and my transcription service decided they couldn’t deal with our rapid speech and technical terms, so I am posting the original interview in full. I suggest watching Graham’s videos first to help understand what it is he does. Be sure to download his plug-in Stream . You can hear his music, as Signals Under Tests, here .
Vessel is the latest recording by über-modern guitarist Dan Phelps. GM has spoken to Phelps in the past about his more group-oriented projects like Modular, Arc, and Spirits Drifted, but Vessel is representative of the guitarist as he more often appears live: alone on stage with guitar, effects, laptop, guitar amp, and full range speaker system. Recorded as one 45 minute take, it incorporates techniques Phelps has described in earlier interviews and in some newer videos included here.
I was recently contracted by Guitar Player Magazine to review the new IK Multimedia Stomp I/O (look for the review in GP in the next couple of months). It lets you send audio and MIDI to an iPad, so I took the opportunity to set up a quick rig employing three of my favorite apps: iDensity, Aum, and Borderlands
This makes me sad. From when I first encountered Source Audio, back when the original Hot Hand was still tethered to the pedals by a cable, I encouraged the company to target laptop jockeys. I was thrilled when they introduced the Hot Hand USB. It seemed like such a good idea at the time: a way for DJs and electronica musicians to stop looking like they were reading their email, as filter sweeps and other effects could be connected to the performer through their hand movements. I even figured out how to use it with guitar without tying up either hand. (See video below and read the article here ). Unfortunately it never caught on and is being discontinued. If it looks like something you could use, grab one now while they last.