As the sole contributor to Guitar Moderne’s content, posts naturally reflect my musical tastes. You may have noticed these tastes do not normally run toward heavier or highly technical styles like Metal or Prog. Still, I have been peripherally aware of Animals As Leaders for some time. It took Premier Guitar’s Rig Rundown with the band to make me realize they were prime Guitar Moderne candidates. Eight- and sometimes nine-string guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes, along with drummer Matt Garstka are performing music that stems from Metal and Prog, but also embraces Jazz, Fusion, Math Rock, Classical, and Ambient as influences. Their genre combining alone would make them modern, but Abasi’s new signature Ibanez guitar also appears like something sent back from the future, combined with Reyes embrace of amp modeling for live work makes them a band that is pushing the art of guitar forward. Anyone interested in where the instrument might go, need to know about these pioneers. I hope to have an interview with Abasi posted in the New Year.
There is a wonderful world of effects out there, but maximizing their usefulness often requires modifying parameters on the fly—think Whammy pedal, or runaway delay feedback. Unfortunately, modifying parameters, and even engaging or switching off effects, tethers you to the pedal in a way that can hamper your visual performance.
There have been solutions: In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which I covered in Guitar Moderne. It allows control of MIDI effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. Source Audio’s Hot Hand, covered here, also permits free-ranging parameter control, either through MIDI (using the Neuro Hub), or through an expression input on the pedal or switching device. The folks at GTC Sound Innovations have come up with yet another solution that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago and I recently got to put it through its paces. First watch the GTC folks demo some classic effects.
Looping master Dan Phelps offers some essential tips for any looper, but especially those using Ableton Live.
Full disclosure: I am the Nashville Source Audio Rep. But I am not posting this because I am the Nashville Source Audio Rep. I am the Nashville Source Audio Rep because ever since they introduced the Hot Hand over a decade ago, Source Audio has been among the most forward-thinking effects companies on the planet. Hell, this thing is so new and already selling so fast that I don’t even have one. I have checked it out a NAMM shows and can’t wait to get my hands on it. If reverb plays a major part in your music, you need a Ventris. And if it doesn’t, get one and it may start.
Chicago is too often overlooked as a center for jazz and other improvised music. The fact that Dan Phillips has chosen to make this Midwest city his base of operations has done nothing to hamper his music. Having gathered a coterie of like minds, he records and plays live with multiple projects in the Windy City. Throughout these various ensembles, his co-designed custom instrument affords him that most valuable of assets, a distinctive sound, which draws you into his music wherever he chooses to take it.