Today is the birthday of Adrian Belew who, for years, has managed to make complex music (Zappa, King Crimson, his own) seem easy and fun. Here are some great sounding, relatively recent, beautifully shot videos of his latest band. The man keeps growing and evolving, while magically making digital guitar sounds that are warm and human.
If anyone were to be into pedals it would be the modern guitarist. Granted there are a few who play only acoustic, and even fewer who exclusively play plugged straight into the amplifier, but the majority of modern guitarists are to some extent looking to find new sounds in the electric realm and pedals help them go there. The firmament of modern guitar heaven is filled with gods who use a plethora of stompboxes in their quest for sonic freshness. Adrian Belew, Nels Cline, Eivind Aarset, Stian Westerhus, David Torn, Nick Reinhardt, and others employ effect pedals as an essential part of their artistry.
For them, and guitarists of all stripes, this year has seen the release of, not one, but two books (actually three) devoted to these playable, collectable, fetish-encouraging devices.
To hold you until my Guitar Player interview comes out (where we focus more on the new record), here is a great interview with Mitch Gallagher at Sweetwater.
Apologies for the dearth of posts. I have people trying to migrate my site away from the awful Bluehost and it has been taking longer than expected. It is still not done but they have fixed the email and assure me I can post, so here is a Guitar Festival for those increasingly hot days when you don’t want to go outside.
Sidsel Endresen and Stian Westerhus live at the Torino Jazz Festival 2019
Fred Frith Quartet at the Festival Météo, Mulhouse, 2015
Nels Cline and Yuka C Honda collectively known as FIG performing “Purple & Red” at The Stone on Aug 26 2016
In keeping with the Xmas spirit, here is a track from Les Paul inspired by Jingle Bells but containing all sorts of jungle noises. Les appears to be making the noises with his guitar by scraping the strings and re-pitching them. His guitar-generated animal sounds predate Adrian Belew’s by almost three decades.