Spotlight: The Messthetics

Those familiar with Anthony Pirog from his work with the duo Janel and Anthony or from his solo record, Palo Colorado Dream, might be surprised by the pugnacious shredding he evidences in his new band, The Messthetics. They shouldn’t be, though. If you lie down with punks you wake up with aggro, and joining Pirog in the band is the former Fugazi rhythm section of Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty. The Messthetics also let’s Pirog channel his inner Sonny Sharrock, which combined with his mastery of effects makes for one of the most exciting modern guitar records so far this year.

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Harry Pepl: The One That Almost Got Away

I discovered Harry Pepl’s unique guitar approach on the Enrico Rava/Dino Saluzzi record Volver [ECM] in 1986 (a must listen). His chorused sound and fluidity were reminiscent of Metheny, but his attack was harder and his sensibility was decidedly more “out.” I loved it and searched the ECM site for more records with his playing on them. I found Cracked Mirrors, his outing with Herbert Joos and John Christiansen, but to my dismay it was only available in Europe. Now, thanks to the glorious fact that (almost) the entire ECM catalog is available for streaming, I am able to experience that record. Unfortunately, ECM has not seen fit to make Werner Pirchner, Harry Pepl, Jack DeJohnette available for some reason (though it is available on YouTube). There are other Pepl recordings to be found on both Spotify and Apple Music. Check out “Cracked Mirror” to hear how his playing in 1988 sounds fresh even today.

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Cool Gear Alert: Elta Effects

Thanks to a Facebook post by Naia Azumi, I discovered Elta Music devices . One of a growing number of pedal manufacturers who seem to be springing from the burgeoning modular market, Elta offers four effects in footswitchable packages that are bound to be of interest to the modern guitarist. First up is their String Ringer:

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Electro-Harmonix SUPEREGO+ Synth Engine/Multi Effect

Mike Matthews & Co have done it again. Beginning with The Freeze and continuing on through the original Superego, the company started down a path of sample and hold effects that modern guitarists like Bill Frisell, Eric Chenaux, and others found essential to their sound. The Superego+ adds built-in effects, including pitch shifting and expression pedal control to create a modern guitar effect masterpiece. Bill Ruppert’s demo is outstanding as always:

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Introducing: Boss V-BDN VG-Strandberg Guitar

If there is a guitar that smells like the future, this is it. Boss is introducing the V-BDN VG-Strandberg guitar, a new instrument that fuses the designs of Swedish builder Strandberg with the V-Guitar technologies from Boss.

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