I have wanted to talk to Marc for a long time. As we discuss, we were playing the Bleecker Street scene at roughly the same time when we were both working sidemen in the New York of the Seventies. Both his book, Unstrung, and his new Ceramic Dog record, Hope, are terrific, and highly intertwined. We talk about that and a lot of other deep musical and highly humorous stuff.
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.