It’s that time of year again: Trees being decorated, candles being lit, balls being dropped, and, of course, year-end top ten lists. You love ’em, you hate ’em but no publication worthy of the name is without them. So here is mine. There were many great records of modern guitar released this year (read about them in the various Record picks posts) but these are the ones that found their way most often to my virtual turntable.
When I checked out the videos Matteo Liberatore sent me in his contact email, I was blown away by his take on creating abstract music in a similar way to early Stian Westerhus; that is, conjuring up highly electronic sounds without using a laptop or iPad, solely through the imaginative employment of effects pedals. Matteo was kind enough to consent to a Reader’s Rig, where explains his process in detail.
STRING THEORY: State of the Art Guitar is an upcoming festival not to be missed if you are in traveling distance of Dublin the weekend of May 20th and 21rst.
The inaugural String Theory festival will present two familiar names to readers of Guitar Moderne: Keith Rowe and Stian Westerhus. Lesser known might be Irish performers Seán Carpio, Karl Burke, and Shane Latimer, as well as Frank Möbus from Germany.
String Theory will take place in an abandoned house at 13, North Great George’s Street. This beautiful Georgian residence will host the six improvising musicians with the audience being led from room to room. There is a strictly limited capacity at this event with only four performances over two nights, at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, so get your tickets soon. All of the musicians will perform at all four shows.
Great new releases keep on coming and there are also some older ones that fell through the cracks here,
Record Picks is a periodic offering from Guitar Moderne: a listing of recordings brought to my attention that I feel are momentous enough to bring to yours. These are not reviews. Feel free to submit recordings, but they must be purchasable worldwide, reflective of modern guitar (again subjective, but no blues, classic rock, be-bop, country, etc.), and on a par with the ones below to rate a mention. Many of these are available from DMG in NYC. If you have sent me a recording, feel free to remind me.
Stian Westerhus Amputation [House of Mythology] Amputation is as epic as one would expect from this master of modern guitar tones. Look for an interview soon.
We have entered an age where guitarists often abandon notes for the musical manipulation of pure sound. Stian Westerhus is one, and Julien Desprez is another. Like Westerhus, the French guitarist is in such solid command of his effects that they become a musical instrument when combined with his manipulation of strings, slams on the guitar body, and twists of the instrument’s volume knob. Almost more amazing than Desprez solo, is how he integrates these sounds into such a wide variety of musical contexts.