Mike Baggetta joins a rarified cohort of guitarists—Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Eivind Aarset, and David Torn—where serious technical ability meets a mastery of sonics. His band mssv with bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges) and drummer Stephen Hodges (Mavis Staples, Tom Waits, David Lynch) has a new album out, so it seemed a good time to catch up. We talk about the difference between the first studio record, Wall of Flowers, and this one, and go deep into Baggetta’s bag of sonic tricks (check out the photos of his pedal setup).
When I first heard Raoul Björkenheim in his band Krakatau it was like hearing Hendrix as inspired by Coltrane. Björkenheim’s latest recording, Solar Winds [Long Song records] is, in fact, a Coltrane tribute on which his tone and go for broke playing style still recall Jimi. It has been six years since Guitar Moderne spotlighted the Finnish guitarist, so it seemed like time to catch up. Be sure to check out the recent performance videos as well.
October 16, 2020 is a banner day for modern guitar releases. Two new generation legends in the making, Mike Baggetta and Anthony Pirog have albums dropping. Baggetta’s band mssv (with Mike Watt and Stephen Hodges) is also doing a live stream tonight under the aegis of the much-missed Big Ears Festival. Look for interviews with both artists at guitarmoderne.com soon. Subscribe so you don’t miss them.
I once read a quote from Paul Klee, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” I took it to mean that a true artist made you see in a new way, one that hadn’t occurred until you encountered their work. One aspect of David Toop’s artistry lies in writing about music and sound in a way that changes the way you hear. It is not an exaggeration to say that reading his books Haunted Weather and Ocean of Sound changed my life. I lived in New York City at the time and much of what I had heretofore heard as noise pollution became a symphony of sound. So, I was chuffed, as they say on David’s side of the pond, to be able to converse with him at length about music and sound.
A performer as well as a writer (see Below), Toop has shared the stage with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Thurston Moore. A lifelong guitarist, Toop’s latest recording, Apparition Paintings, combines his love of twang, his encyclopedic knowledge of sound art (a term he might not care for) and a wanton disregard for genre.
I met Eddie Van Halen when I worked at Electro-Harmonix in the 70s. He came in to the 23rd Street offices for something that has been lost to the mists of my memory and I delivered it to him. He was, like many brilliant artists, smaller than you imagine, their talent giving them a stature in your mind that they don’t possess in real life. The encounter was brief and affable. He had already changed the face of electric guitar.