In Part I Dither co-founder Taylor Levine and I discussed the quartet’s origin and the concept of “good” guitar tone in a New Music/Modern Classical context. Here we delve deeper into the record, Potential Differences, guitarist’s process and gear, as well as some other projects of which he is part.
I recently came across two videos that I thought would be of interest to modern guitarists. They are courtesy of The North American Guitar Shop. Oddly, considering the name, the shop is located in London and these guitars are made in Germany and Finland. Be that as it may, Teuffel is emblematic enough of modern guitar to be featured on our header and Versoul makes the kind of retro-modern instruments that reference the past without being stuck in it. Also, if you ever wondered how much sonic effect using the different tone bars on the Teuffel might induce, the second video should be of special interest. Though they are not playing modern music, they do a great job of displaying the tonal quality of the instruments.
Last year, I interviewed James Moore from the Dither Guitar Quartet around the time he released his record performing the entirety of John Zorn’s The Book of Heads. This set me on a path examining the place of the electric guitar in contemporary “classical” music. I recently posted a two-part interview with Tim Brady, where we discussed this fascinating (at least to me) subject. With this month’s release of Dither’s fantastic record, Potential Differences [New Focus Recordings], I deemed it time to talk to one of the Quartet’s founders, Taylor Levine, about how they manage to make the electric guitar sound like a natural vehicle for modern composed music. Again, the conversation ranged wide and so there will be a Part II. Please subscribe to find out when the post goes up.
With the Xmas season fast approaching, this Swiss label could provide one-stop shopping for all the modern guitar records you need to please fellow fans or yourself. This small label offers over 250 recordings, many of which feature pioneers (Fred Frith, Elliot Sharp) and current stars (Mary Halvorson, Kurt Rosenwinkel) of modern guitar. It is also a great place to discover new players from Europe (Dominic Landolt, Vojko Huter).
The Chords of Orion YouTube channel is an invaluable resource for modern guitarists. Bill Vencil’s focus is ambient music, but he covers gear of interest to any modern guitarist. I was unaware of the Joyo device. It makes me wonder if the EBow patent has run out. I compared the Aeon and the EBow in my Electronic Musician column, but a head to head (to head) video comparison is very welcome.