This month our Picks runneth over. Covid has been unable to stifle those who were born to create. Solo projects and remote collaborations abound, but group projects are finding their way into the mix as well. We start off with Sonar’s Stephen Thelen and all-star guests.
For over two decades of world touring, nine solo soundscape albums, and collaborations including over 100 albums of credits, Tim Motzer has been known for his distinctive textural acoustic-electro guitar voice utilizing looping, bowing, electronics, and prepared techniques. He has collaborated with numerous musical luminaries including David Sylvian, Burnt Friedman, poet Ursula Rucker, King Britt, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Vernon Reid, David Torn, Markus Reuter, J.A. Dino Deane, and Pat Mastelotto, among others. Since 2016, Tim has toured the world playing prestigious venues and jazz festivals with Bandit65, an improvising trio he co-leads with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Gintas Janusonis.
Tim has brought his projects together under his own 1k Recordings imprint. We talk about that and much of the above as well.
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.
I believe BibiAudiofil2 was gone from YouTube for a while but now is back. He is a Romanian music fan who has somehow amassed the most amazing collection of modern music videos I I have ever seen. For modern guitar fans, this includes vintage live footage of players like Bill Frisell, Terje Rypdal (a bonanza of videos), Marc Ribot, Pat Metheny, David Torn (with Don Cherry in 1979!), John McLaughlin, and Ralph Towner. Get over to the site while you have time and before he gets taken down.
Here is Eivind Aarset with the band that started the Guitar Moderne journey for me.
A new Torn record is always a cause for celebration, but FUR/TORN is a bonanza for fans of the artist’s guitar playing. Performed solo, with no overdubs, it is distilled Torn—a reduction of pure tone, technique and ideas. He performs with his Ronin “Supastah” set clean and through a variety of hairy fuzz pedals (FUR?). We talked about the vagaries of the virus, what he looks for in a fuzz, our mutual admiration of the late John Abercrombie, and much more. The video and sound came out pristine, and given that we all have more time on our hands, I thought I would offer Guitar Moderne fans a chance to sit in on our unedited conversation. Enjoy and subscribe for more like this.