Robert Plant has been a musically restless soul since his youthful days with some big British band. His solo work since they split has echoed elements of the last five decades of music without ever pandering to current fads or trading on his past glories. He is a musician first, a music lover, and from all reports a nice guy. And, for a brief time, he worked with a decidedly different guitarist.
I have seen Nick Reinhart improvise brilliantly with a set of pedals he was handed less than an hour before. Here, he and Gardner pull off an improv that sounds like a fully composed piece, with Nick using a guitar made of cardboard (including the neck). Check it out, as well as a video on the making of this unusual instrument.
I hadn’t seen a true concert in over three years. A show at the Jazz a Junas festival seemed ideal: small, outdoors, 40 minutes away from our apartment in Nîmes over mostly non-life-threatening roads.
I discovered Italian guitarist/electronic musician/composer Elio Martusciello through a tip from Eivind Aarset. He, in turn, was clued in by drummer Michele Rabbia, who has played with both men. Rabbia claimed that Martusciello performed with just Ableton Live and its plugins. Of course I had to find out about this. The truth proved a bit more complex.
Martusciello’s recorded work is a masterclass in combining noise, melody, vocalists, found sounds, synthesizers, and guitar in a way that makes them seem like natural partners. His complex audio collages never seem crowded, making excellent use of dynamics, space, and tension. Each sound has its place, and works perfectly with every other element. The compositions can feel simultaneously abstract and romantic.
Elio doesn’t speak fluent English, so I decided to do the first print interview in a while. Hopefully, between Google translate and some editing, the essence of his answers remains.
We live in a world of post Frisell-ian guitarists. A couple of generations have grown up influenced by this modern master’s use of space and effects. His influence shows more in some than others and, and, in fairness, his style is so idiosyncratic that it can be hard to find a unique identity under his musical spell. Still, British guitarist, Harry Christelis has managed that feat, learning all the right lessons while carving out a sound of his own through masterful, personal use of a different set of effects, and finding his own compositional and performing voice. We find out how, among other things, in our wide ranging interview.