If I had a dollar for every “think”-piece about the future of music, I could quit all my other jobs to concentrate on Guitar Moderne, and making more music. Still, I can’t resist adding my own two cents (like how I continued the monetary theme?). A trend I am observing is an increasing number of musicians equally at home with playing (often multiple) instruments, music technology, and creating video.
Once upon a time, a couple of former Strymon and Line 6 folks got together and started making 500 Series rack modules under the name Meris. Eventually they started producing pedal versions of two of the modules. I saw one of those pedals, the Ottobit Jr., demonstrated back in January by Nick Reinhart and Juan Alderete on the great YouTube channel Pedals And Effects. It immediately struck me as potentially a perfect multi-effects pedal for Guitar Moderne readers. As luck would have it, in February, Nick introduced me by email to the Meris people who were kind enough to send one when the review models became available. I dove in and here are the results.
In his video “To Bill” (below) it is easy to detect who the Bill in the title is, but Rocco Saviano also cites Avant-singer Mike Patton. Still, when not paying homage to modern guitar icon Frisell, Saviano’s music leans toward more towards the romanticism of his classical background, with emotion-filled melodies layered over consonant chords, rather than towards Patton’s aggressive sounds. In fact, Saviano’s lyrical style gives ample proof that noise is only one way to be modern.
In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which we covered in Guitar Moderne. We were impressed with the possibilities of controlling effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. The downside was that the unit can be difficult to fit on your instrument and makes a large visual statement that may or may not be to your liking. On the upside, it is very versatile and, streeting at a little over $100, reasonably priced.
The folks at GTC have come up with an alternate device that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago. As hearing anything at NAMM is an exercise in futility, we were glad to come across a video that clearly demonstrates the enormous possibilities of their Revpad. Smaller than the Guitar Wing, it comes with its own hardware multi-effects and can also send MIDI to external effects. On the strength of this video, the effects sound great and the Revpad seems nearly as versatile as the Guitar Wing. At around $1000, it is pricier than the Livid product, but when you factor in the cost of the laptop and/or external hardware effects you would need to add to Guitar Wing, they seem comparable values. What do you think?
The journey Reid Karris took to become a player of prepared guitar echoes others who attack the instrument with implements from the kitchen and hardware store. Attempts at “normal” playing left him unsatisfied, until he found his true musical self in a combination of tabletop and worn guitars. His lengthy description of his process and his music was worth presenting in full, as it offers valuable insights to anyone considering abandoning genre guitar for the wilds of experimentation.