Many of this year’s picks were recorded before 2020, for obvious reasons. Works by veterans (Sharp, Alcorn, Björkenheim) joined some newer voices (Naylor, Yalvaç, Gargaud) in offering us quality distractions from a nightmarish year. If you hear anything you like, please purchase something from the artist. With touring off the table, times are tougher than usual for experimental artists.
It looks like many of us will be stuck inside for a while and many of these artists will be losing income due to cancelled shows because—virus. It would be a good time to buy some of these new recordings from Eivind Aarset, Nels Cline, David Torn, Eliot Sharp, and others so they have some money coming in and you have something to do while self-quarantining.
Summer festival season will be here before you know it. Hopefully we will be virus-free by then and you can enjoy the outdoors in the company of like-minded music fans. Either way, you can count on Guitar Moderne to supply virtual festivals like this to enjoy in the air-conditioned, Portapotty and germ-free comfort of your home.
We start the proceedings with this amazing Terje Rypdal trio concert from a decade ago that I seem to have missed, with Miroslav Vitous triggering orchestral samples.
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).
My years of making music in New York City coincided at various times with Elliot Sharp’s. Our musical worlds, however, rarely overlapped. I was playing blues and country music; accompanying singer-songwriters, both struggling and famous; and playing in pop bands that were trying to get record deals (my more avant-garde efforts would come later). Elliot, on the other hand, was at the nexus of all the art that was pushing the envelope during that period, and is still to this day. I never saw him perform live or met him until shortly before I left New York to move to Nashville in 2012, and then it was in a wonderful duo performance with Mary Halvorson.