One commenter on this video laments Oz Noy’s use of effects for this tune as self-indulgent. What they apparently fail to understand is that by pushing the sounds into the future, Oz is honoring another pioneer. Thelonious Monk was often misunderstood during his lifetime by people who wanted to keep hearing the basic swing of an Oscar Peterson or an Earl Hines. Many performers of Monk tunes over the years miss the spirit of his quirky style and merely play standard bebop and blues licks over the changes (Bill Frisell being a notable exception). Oz’s work here displays a mastery of modern effects, as well as blazing chops.
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 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.
I have been following Deimel Guitarworks on Instagram for a while. With creative wiring, pickups behind the bridge, and Piezos embedded at various points in the guitar, Frank Deimel has been in the forefront of creating instruments for experimental guitarists. His latest, the Firestar LesLee Synchronizer, combines a fascinating, built-in Leslie effect created by automatically switching between pickups, as well as the ability to synch with modular synths, or any device that uses CV.
I have written extensively here and in Electronic Musician about my search for a way to combine the power of Ableton Live with the different but similar power of the many sonic mangling apps available to iOS users. Lewitt’s Connect 6 ($299) might just be the end point of that search.