Visionary Instruments’ MIDI controller guitar appeared at NAMM in recent years. Rob O’Reilly has apparently also been making instruments with MIDI control functions for at least five years but, it was only thanks to Pete Thorn mentioning the Paul David demo that I discovered this. David’s demo may leave you drooling and there are a bunch of video demos on the company site that make this instrument very appealing. At €2,990 (@$3500) it is not cheap but for the amount of tech seems quite reasonable. Let me know if you would like to see an interview with Mr. O’Reilly.
Click more for Rob himself demoing the features in depth.
Unlike a magnetic pickup, which translates the vibrations of the guitar strings into electronic sound, a contact microphone senses audio vibrations through direct contact with an object. The contact mic can be a boon for the modern guitarist, as a way of allowing direct translation of body vibrations, or amplifying the sound of picking behind the bridge or nut in a more direct way.
On the occasion of three decades of service to the avant-garde community, I would like to wish Downtown Music Gallery a Happy Birthday, with hopes for many more to come. I encourage you to try them first when seeking out records by modern guitarists so they can continue far into the future. Check out this video of artists paying tribute to this singular shop.
Despite the lockdown, modern guitar releases keep coming apace. Here is the latest bounty from Jessica Ackerley, Jo Jena, Nick Milevoi, Henry Kaiser, a couple of Tim Motzer records, and others. There is still time to get many of these releases on Bandcamp, where today all the proceeds go to the artists, but don’t let that stop you from buying them in subsequent days.
I have wanted to talk to Blake Mills, well forever, but especially since he recorded Look, a collection of instrumental pieces recorded almost entirely with old Roland guitar synthesizers. Since then he has used the synths on Mutable Set, a group of dark, intimate, minimalist songs that create a unique world. More recently, he busted out the guitar synth for a few moments in Notes With Attachments (see videos below), yet another unique-sounding record created in conjunction with world-class bassist, Pino Palladino. This time I contacted him through Instagram and we connected. Our conversation ranges far and wide, as Mills proves as thoughtful as he is musical.