If you think falsetto vocals somewhere between Antony Hegarty and Kenny Rankin, guitar playing that somehow reconciles Rankin, Derek Bailey, and Robert Fripp, combined with drones that recall Norwegian fiddle music, you might be able to conjure up the sound of Toronto’s Eric Chenaux. But don’t bother—just check out some of these videos [there are multiple videos of the same tune to show his improvisatory nature]. Or, better yet, buy his latest record Guitar & Voice so you can experience his unique talent for creating gorgeous lyricism tempered with willful dissonance. Chenaux offers Guitar Moderne readers a glimpse of how he arrived at his singular style.
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I was tasked with reporting on the 2013 Nashville Amp & Gear Expo for Guitar Player Magazine. Check it out here.
Source Audio epitomizes the kind of forward thinking encouraged at Guitar Moderne. From the company’s inception it has eschewed the kind of “vintage is better” thinking pervading much (but thankfully not all) of the effect pedal industry. Vintage is great, but Source Audio has taken the challenge to push the world of guitar performance into the future. Their centerpiece product—Hot Hand—is a ring that remotely controls their line of guitar and bass effects, as well as any other effect with a continuous control input. Now, through Hot Hand USB it can also control plug-in and DAW parameters on your computer.
Earthquaker Devices is one of most successful pedal manufacturers to emerge from the boutique effect world. By offering solidly constructed, great looking and sounding pedals at an affordable price point, they have shaken up the market like a 5.0 trembler. Though they offer standard effects like overdrive, fuzz, distortion, and compression, Earthquaker also occasionally pushes the pedal envelope with something like the Arpanoid ($225 list).
Brooklyn-based Marco Oppedisano’s compositions largely rely on processed and unprocessed samples of electric guitar, and the occasional sampled vocals of his wife, Kimberly Fiedelman. These complex, highly textured works are not meant to be performed live, though Oppedisano has been known to play out with backing tracks or in improvisatory solo and duo situations. His meticulously edited work can be enjoyed on his records, celebrating the myriad, evocative tonal possibilities contained in this instrument we love.
Oppedisano has been included in a book of guitarists released in 2008: State of the Axe: Guitar Masters in Photographs and Words by Ralph Gibson, and was part of The $100 Guitar Project.
Summer is festival season, so here is the fourth installment of the Guitar Moderne Festival.
We start off with Part 5 of an amazing grouping from 1994 of Terje Rypdal, Billy Cobham, and Victor Bailey. Possibly the most burning visual Rypdal ever recorded.
Anyone familiar with the Moog Guitar will be acquainted with Paul Vo’s work. Vo pioneered string energy synthesis, where the sounds are a product not of processing the au but of affecting the way the strings vibrate. This method creates a variety of unearthly overtones and harmonics for some completely new guitar sounds. Vo created his own company—VoInventions—and has turned his inventor’s eye toward acoustic guitars. The result is the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Try to check this out without your jaw dropping.
More comprehensive intro
Slovakian guitarist David Kollar’s style includes elements of two Norwegian modern guitar icons, Eivind Aarset (an occasional collaborator) and Stian Westerhus. On the recently released, The Son, his atmospheric work recalls Aarset’s solo recordings and time as sideman to Nils Petter Molvaer, while Kollar’s noisier interjections bring to mind Westerhus’ experiments with pedals. It is the tension and release of atmosphere and noise that lend The Son the power to convey the strong emotions Kollar suffered during the illness of his son—feelings that inspired the recording. Listening to The Son is highly recommended, as is reading what Kollar has to say about its making and how he developed his unique style.
The NAMM show offered a multitude of effects in a showroom-style vacuum. My compadres at Premier Guitar go out in the field to show you how they are actually employed. In this Premier Guitar Rig Rundown Vernon Reid and Doug Wimbish demo the gear they are currently using in Living Color, providing a compendium of effects available to the modern guitarist and bassist. Reid is running parallel signals through VG-99, Guitar Rig, iPad and Ableton Live effects, as well as a host of other processors, while Wimbish combines distortion, filtering, and looping in creative ways. These guys are on the gear cutting edge—check it out!
This year marked the first year NAMM’s summer display of goodies for guitarists (and other musicians) was housed in Nashville’s new Music City Center. It will also go down in SNAMM history as the “The Pedal Show”—it seemed like every other booth housed a plethora of effects pedals for guitar!