Catching up on a plethora of performances released last year, some of which are shoo-ins for my “best of” list coming later in January.
Mike Baggetta Everywhen We Go [Big Ego Records]
In recent years, Baggetta has firmed up his place along Nels Cline, David Torn, and Bill Frisell as a guitarist whose style is solidly facing forward. Here, he returns to the the trio that launched him into the public eye. Along with drum legend Jim Kelttner and post-punk bass legend Mike Watt, he serves up a bouquet of modern guitar, from the lonely surfer sound of the title track, to the layered textures of solo performance “In The Center,” to the fuzzed out frenzy of “Yank It Out.” Required.
Marc van Vugt The Lonely Coyote [Baixim Records]
Guitarist van Vugt offers up a beautiful bonanza of acoustic guitar textures and deft playing in the spirit of works by Bill Connors, Ralph Towner, Pat Metheny and Egberto Gismonti. Perfectly applied reverb fleshes out these solo performances and makes for lush listening.
Dan Phillips and Krzysztof Pabian Intersecting Parallels [Lizard Breath Records]
Electric guitarist Phillips and upright bassist Pabian form an empathic duo reminiscent of a post modern Jim Hall and Ron Carter. Phillips fills out his runs and scrapes with pads from a freeze-type pedal as the pair serves up some stellar interaction.
Stephan Thelen Fractal Guitar 3 [Moonjune Records]
Thelen is joined on guitar by Eivind Aarset: electric guitar, e-bow, effects, noise orchestra, Markus Reuter: touch guitar U8, Jon Durant: fretless guitar, clouds, Bill Walker: glitchy strat, yinyang guitar, koto guitar, Barry Cleveland: bowed cymbals and guitars, guitar, psychedelic soundscapes and effects. What else do you need to know?
Reuter Motzer Grohowski Bleed [Moonjune Records]
Markus Reuter, Touch Guitars® AU8, looping; Tim Motzer, acoustic-electric 6 & 12 string guitars, baritone electric, electric guitar, bow, electronics, looping; and Kenny Grohowski, drums and percussion culled these tracks from a long day and night of improvisation. The results are alternate between acoustic-guitar based musings and fuzzed-out, electric, face melting performed by three masters of modern music.
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.