Sorry I have been a little MIA with Guitar Moderne but my wife and I recently sold our house and moved to France. Hopefully that means I will get to see some of the wonderful European guitarists that have been featured in the magazine. I am playing some catchup here, so if you sent me something that has already been released please remind me. In the meantime here are some relatively new releases, including a bunch from Ramble Records, which has become something of a go-to label for modern guitar artistry.
Henry Kaiser and Anthony Pirog FIGURE / GROUND electric guitar duos [Ramble Records]
A partially ambient outing from two master modern guitarists and former Five Times Surprise bandmates. Unlike your typical ambient record, with its occasional outbursts of energy and noise, this one will evoke feelings other than comfort and relaxation.
Jessica Ackerley, Patrick Shiroishi, Chris Williams, Luke Stewart, Jason Nazary SSWAN: Invisibility is an Unnatural Disaster [577 Records]
Ackerly has been forging a unique, often non-tonal voice on the guitar for a while now. Here she is joined by Shiroishi, saxophones; Williams, trumpet; Stewart, bass; and Nazary, drums, a crew of compatriots with singular sounds of their own for a new take on free improv.
Giannis Arapis/Kawol Samarqandi Theives Lair [Ramble Records]
Guitarists Giannis Arapis (Greece) and Kawol Samarqandi (Japan) come from a jazz-experimental background and the minimalism of Loren Connors respectively. Here they blend into one instrument on this beautifully recorded outing, sounding as if Derek Bailey had four hands.
AR.MA. Peryhelium [Ramble Records]
On Peryhelium, Polish artist AR.MA. releases an ethereal blend of guitar improv and electroacoustic soundscapes inspired by observations of the moon and Olivier Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition.
Chris Alford/William Thompson Overtone Undertow [Ramble Records]
Yet another from Ramble is a set of improvs by guitarist Alford on nylon and resonator guitars, and Thompson on infastain piano. Thompson has constructed a kind of Freeze pedal for acoustic piano that makes for a complimentary contrast to Alford’s more percussive excursions.
Giacomo Fiore/Danny Clay Turntable Drawing No. 16 [Bandcamp]
Composer Clay and guitarist Fiore describe this as “an ongoing series of numbered works by composer Danny Clay and printmaker Jon Fischer, based on a growing collection of hand-molded, playable records.” For this outing they combine three turntables playing locked-groove records with a score for electric guitar featuring looped chordal fragments. The records produce various noisy and melodic low fidelity sounds. Fiore uses a modular synthesizer patch that loops and processes both the recorded sounds and guitar in real time. A fascinating, haunting work.
Conrad Praetzel Adventures Into Somethingness [Bandcamp]
For almost a quarter century, Praetzel has released records as Clothesline Revival, mixing roots instruments and electronics in a refreshing way. Under his own name he has now released a set of ambient compositions based in guitar that is highly processed through pedals, sampled and re-performed through UVI Falcon’s time stretch algorithm.
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.