Today is the birthday of Adrian Belew who, for years, has managed to make complex music (Zappa, King Crimson, his own) seem easy and fun. Here are some great sounding, relatively recent, beautifully shot videos of his latest band. The man keeps growing and evolving, while magically making digital guitar sounds that are warm and human.
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.
Mike Baggetta joins a rarified cohort of guitarists—Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Eivind Aarset, and David Torn—where serious technical ability meets a mastery of sonics. His band mssv with bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges) and drummer Stephen Hodges (Mavis Staples, Tom Waits, David Lynch) has a new album out, so it seemed a good time to catch up. We talk about the difference between the first studio record, Wall of Flowers, and this one, and go deep into Baggetta’s bag of sonic tricks (check out the photos of his pedal setup).
Well, it’s a done deal: NAMM 2021 is not happening; at least not in person. Companies had already begun to release new products throughout the year, a trend that will no doubt increase with no centralized show for which to save them. So… I will endeavor to up my new product release coverage, of course concentrating on those of interest to modern guitarists. First up, a cool bit reducer from EHX. and then a couple of new pedals in the Boss looper line.
Guitar wizards David Torn, Bill Frisell, Anthony Pirog, and Mary Halvorson all performed at the 2019 Big Ears Festival, but it was the Friday night performance by Rafiq Bhatia and his band that stole the show https://www.guitarmoderne.com/artists/big-ears-2019. Under lockdown in Brooklyn, Bhatia participated in a performance for the New York’s National Sawdust arts organization. That is presented here, followed by a video interview in which Bhatia reveals that all in the video is not as it seems.