I am trying desperately to catch up with all the terrific music being brought to my attention. Here is a wide spectrum of interesting modern guitar, including a pair of solo recordings from Bill Frisell: one new and one you may have overlooked—I had.
If there is one record store that epitomizes the spirit of Guitar Moderne, it is Downtown Music Gallery. When I lived in New York, I discovered a wealth of new music there and saw some great shows. Here is a video that gives some of the store’s history and shows the kind of guitarists and other instrumentalists who played there. If you are looking for recordings by your favorite artist and can’t find it at your local record store (assuming you have one), these guys will take care of you.
Five years ago, I found myself scouring YouTube for videos of guitarists like Nels Cline, Derek Bailey, and Eivind Aarset. I was amazed at how much was available and how those videos led to others by strange and wonderful guitarists I didn’t know. I wanted to share this find—but where? I had many guitarist friends and “friends” on Facebook, but only a small percentage of those would be interested in the avant-garde excursions of the players I enjoyed.
The man who helped inspire guitarmoderne.com takes an awesome solo at 5:25
Few guitarists attempt to improvise for a full set using minimal if any effects or prepared guitar implements. Keeping the music interesting and, well, musical for a forty minute set with nothing but a guitar and your fingers is not easy. Ken Aldcroft manages to do it through a thorough background in jazz, extended finger techniques like tapping and pinch harmonics, and a rooted sound that comes from the blues.
Thanks to Miguel Copon at Prepared Guitar for discovering this video of Derek Bailey performing live at G’s Club in Barcelona in 2004.
Many have attempted this style since Bailey developed his own guitar language in the Sixties. Few bring to it the utter control, dynamics, and yes, lyricism of the master.