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.
We live in a world of post Frisell-ian guitarists. A couple of generations have grown up influenced by this modern master’s use of space and effects. His influence shows more in some than others and, and, in fairness, his style is so idiosyncratic that it can be hard to find a unique identity under his musical spell. Still, British guitarist, Harry Christelis has managed that feat, learning all the right lessons while carving out a sound of his own through masterful, personal use of a different set of effects, and finding his own compositional and performing voice. We find out how, among other things, in our wide ranging interview.
If you are a modern guitarist you need to know about Rainger FX pedals. In the world of effects manufacturers, it sometimes seems that, not only are there too many versions of a tube screamer, but that even with the more modern effects, i.e. glitch, micro-loopers, etc., effects manufacturers are often releasing variations on a theme—not so David Rainger.
At first glance, his pedals can seem like some random gimmick, designed to be willfully different. Further investigation reveals that, for starters, their basic sounds are uniformly terrific: musical, lush, warm—all the usual coveted qualities. It’s just that on top of that Rainger has added functions that demand creativity, often inspired by non-guitar music like hip-hop and synth-based songs. It is a joy to watch his pedals force Mick and Dan into new sonic territory and the palpable joy it brings them. (Check out my review of the Mini Bar here)