Guitar Moderne Record Picks XXXI

Sorry I have fallen behind on posts. Big doings in the Guitar Moderne household. Great new recordings have been rushing in, so here is a long one to catch up. The usual suspects are here in unusual collaborations (Eivind Aarset, Bill Frisell), as well as undersung masters like Matt Stevens, Brandon Seabrook and others.

J. Peter Schwalm & Stephan Thelen Transneptunian Planets [Rare Noise Records]

Electronics whiz Schwalm is joined by minimalist guitarist/composer Thelen of Sonar, Eivind Aarset, and others in what will definitely be one of the picks of the year. Thelen’s Crimson-esque rhythms combined with Schwalm’s atmospheres, more atmospheres and some serious soloing by Aarset make this a must have. 

Juhani Silvola Wolf Hour Roundelay [Shhpuma/Clean Feed]

Scandinavia has sired another stunning modern guitarist in Silvola. This recording of electro/acoustic guitar sublimely straddles the worlds of tonality and atonality, with preparations and effects creating their own atypical harmonies.


Orion Tango The In Between [1k Recordings]

Tim Motzer’s improvisatory power trio with drummer Jeremy Carlstedt, and bassist Barry Meehan leans in to the power aspect on their third outing with Motzer’s monstrous sound often rising out of an ambient soup.


Álvaro Domene Torsion [Iluso Records]

Covid has led to many contemplative long distance collaborations and solo outings. Domene has collaborated with a drum machine here, coming out of the gate sounding as if Squarepusher was a guitar shredder. Dynamics abound though, as space, clean sounds, and even contemplation appear through the course of this record.


Seabrook /Cooper-Moore/Gerald Cleaver In the Swarm [Astral Spirits]

This latest from guitarist Brandon Seabrook finds him playing with drummer Cleaver and diddley bow artist Cooper-Moore. The low-tuned diddley bow provides a surprisingly fat bass bed for Seabrook’s banjo excursions, as well as skronk and ambient guitar. Seabrook’s excellent production makes this often atonal music extremely palatable. In the Swarm is unlike anything you have heard and something you should definitely hear.


Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens In Common [Whirlwind Recordings]

Christian Scott atunde Adjuah and Esperanza Spaulding guitarist Stevens joins Smith on saxophone for their third in the In Common series. Elevating the party are jazz legends bassist Dave Holland and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, along with relative newcomer Kris Davis on piano. Together they create a jazz that is solidly rooted while being thoroughly contemporary. Great tunes help too.


de la Cruz/Sampaoli/Flores Catino Onírica [ears & eyes records]

Argentinian guitarist Gastón de la Cruz is joined here by Valentino Sampaoli, double bass & electric bass; Nahuel Flores Catino, drums & percussion; José Marín, soprano sax; and Ornella Contreras, on piano. The guitarist sounds equally at home with distorted, wah, skronk, and reverbed, clean tones. 


Ches Smith/ Craig Taborn/ Mat Maneri/ Bill Frisell Interpret It Well [Pyroclastic]

For this record, Smith added Frisell to his trio with keyboard player Taborn and Maneri on viola. The guitarist fits right in, helping them create music that beautifully blurs the line between composition and improvisation. (Bonus here’s a full live concert)


Roots Moderne

Rome Yamilov & Henry Kaiser The Lenoir Investigation [Little Village Records]

Kaiser is joined by Rome Yamilov,  guitar/vocals; Jim Pugh, organ/piano; Aki Kumar, harmonica /vocals; Kid Anderson, bass/vocal, and June Core on drums for a set of psychedelic blues that remains firmly rooted in Lenoir’s music no matter how far out and fuzzy it gets. Not for purists but fun for everyone else.


Record Picks is a periodic offering from Guitar Moderne: a listing of recordings brought to my attention that I feel are worthy of being brought to yours. Feel free to submit recordings, but they must be purchasable worldwide, reflective of modern guitar (subjective to be sure, but no blues, classic rock, be-bop, country, etc.) and on a par with the ones above to rate a mention. Many of these are available from DMG in NYC. If you have already sent me a recording, please feel free to remind me.


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