You may notice some labels making recurrent and multiple appearances on this list and from year to year. These labels have become successful, forward thinking purveyors of boundary stretching music, so it is not surprising they are attracting the best of the best. Cuneiform has a long history in this field, which makes up and coming, virtuoso Anthony Pirog a good match. Rune Grammofon continues to support the ground-breaking work of modern guitar hero Stian Westerhus, while Anti and Nonesuch are becoming the go-to labels for roots artists looking to remain relevant.
Once again this is a purely subjective list, so please let me know if you feel strongly about a record I have left off. We are fortunate so much great modern guitar music is available, but it makes it hard for one man to keep up. Happy Holidays.
If you are interested in playing a guitar through a laptop this is a great series from modern guitarist/polymath Christopher Willits. I embedded Episode 2 because 1 is basic nuts and bolts about getting your sound into the computer—essential if you are just starting, but 2 might be of interest to more advanced players as well.
People love lists; at least the majority of publications seem to think so. They stir up controversy, which attracts attention. Thus I feel almost obligated to offer a year’s best list, for this, our first year of publication.
Keep in mind that the top twelve, listed in no particular order, merely represents the recordings, released this year (ish), that I found myself returning to over the course of time. In the spirit of Guitar Moderne, I list them primarily to incite readers to check them out. They by no means are meant to be an “objective” list of the “best” recordings of the year, but only the ones that I heard and personally responded to—my best, if you will. They very much reflect my own taste and your list will undoubtedly vary. By all means chime in and let me know what you think I missed. Continue reading →
I have seen Christopher Willits perform and interviewed him numerous times over the years. In many ways he epitomizes the multitasking of the modern electronic musician: i.e. collaborations with other artists, designing personalized software, teaching, touring, and recording. His new recording, Ancient Future [Ghostly International] is his second collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto. It differs from their first meeting (Ocean Fire), in that Sakamoto’s piano and Willits’ guitar are more recognizable as such throughout, but is no less textural and evocative for all that. In this video he explains a little about his process on Ancient Future. He was also kind enough to take on the additional task of answering the Guitar Moderne questionnaire.