NAMM 2018 was even bigger than last year, yet much more manageable. The brand new ACC (Anaheim Convention Center) North building housed most of the high tech and pro audio stuff, allowing guitars and related products to be centralized in one area on the main floor of the original building. NAMM further reduced the spread by offering the new boutique manufacturers—previously relegated to downstairs Hall E—smaller, more affordable booths in the main guitar product ghetto. Thus, I was able to cover the show in two relaxed, rather than three grueling, days.
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
Sarah Lipstate has been a unique voice in modern guitar ever since she went solo as Noveller and began her distinctive looping performances. You can get the back story in my first Guitar Moderne interview, as well as in the one I did for Guitar Player . Much has happened in Noveller-land since then, so on the occasion of the release, A Pink Sunset for No One, it seemed time to sit down with her and find out how she has taken the one-time niche of guitar looping to the big stage with the likes of St. Vincent and Iggy Pop. An admitted gear-junkie, we delve into the goodies she is using, (spoiler alert: like Eno she eschews the comfort of the familiar for the excitement of experimentation.) But Sarah was also candid about her artist’s journey: how she came to these extraordinary opportunities, and why she decided to forsake Brooklyn for Los Angeles.
The New York Guitar Festival is one of the few things that makes me wish I still lived in New York. If you live there or can get there don’t miss it. The Festival returns this year with a week of concerts, from May 8 to May 14, followed by a day of free workshops, master classes, and panel discussions on May 15. Players of particular interest to modern guitarists in the 2016 roster include David Torn, Nels Cline, Vernon Reid, Noveller, and Wolfgang Muthspiel. The opening Mother’s Day concert at Brookfield Place Winter Garden is in honor of the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with guest curator Luther Dickinson. 2016’s Guitar Marathon will take place at The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, where rather than be confined to a single stage, the music will flow throughout the entire complex. Other venues include National Sawdust, and DROM.
Touring is getting tougher and more expensive, so Sarah Lipstate A/K/A Noveller pulled a “Honey I Shrunk The Pedal Board” for her European tour. She was kind enough to steal a moment from packing to give us the rundown. You can read about her original sized rig and see a video of it here. If you are anywhere near these shows, you can hear her make uniquely beautiful music with her new pedals.