When Jessica Ackerley performs with her clean Strat plugged straight into her amp, the accuracy and authority of her rapid-fire right hand is a thing of beauty. Her record A New Kind of Water [Bandcamp] made Guitar Moderne Record Picks XVIII based on her warm tones, advanced sense of space, and musical interaction. On the other side are the unique sounds she gets through her pedal board when performing in her noise-pop duo ESSi. The combination made talking to her a must.
One day, I came across Keisuke Matsuno on Don Mount’s YouTube channel. Suddenly it was going, “Who is this guy? This is a kind of guitar I love: exactly the way he does what he does, in the context in which he does it.” Certainly, there are other guitar players playing modern guitar sounds within the context of already outside, noisy, or fully electronic music, like Matsuno’s work with Hans Tammen. Rarer is the ability to inject these elements into a largely consonant context, like Nels Cline with Wilco, Ethan Ballinger’s work with country star Lee Ann Womack, or the subversive playing Matsuno himself does in saxophonist Timo Vollbrecht’s Fly Magic ensemble.
Guitar Moderne Spotlight subject Florent Paris a/k/a/ Hors Sujet , has been collaborating with ambient musicians Analog Weapon, Foot, and Andrea Gava under the auspices of Magpie Pirates to present YouTube concerts on a regular basis. The ambient nature of the music means that latency in not an issue. Freed from the constraint of having to be locked in rhythmically, they can play together in real time. Their next show will be Tuesday April 28th at 6pm UTC (convert that to your zone’s time here ).
At NAMM 2020 back in January, the worst thing you had to worry about was getting NAMMthrax (or NAMMonia), that is, a bad cold from shaking all those hands. We live in different times now; hope you and yours are healthy.
What this year’s winter show lacked in number of interesting product debuts it made up for in decibels. Complaints were constant about being unable to hear the gear, or talk to the vendors. (You can experience this in some of the videos). That said, there were a few cool releases that should appeal to the modern guitarist. If April seems late for the roundup, consider that many of these products are just now shipping.
This apparently wasn’t ready for NAMM, and it still isn’t shipping, but it looks interesting. A highly-flexible pedal board with simple controls, Plethora X5 allows you to create and customize up to 127 custom boards with a up to five Toneprint pedals each. Effects include: Hall Of Fame 2 Reverb, Flashback 2 Delay, Sub n Up Octaver, Brainwaves Pitch Shifter, Corona Chorus, Hypergravity Compressor, Mimiq Doubler, Vortex Flanger, Pipeline Tap Tremolo, Quintessence Harmony, Sentry Noise Gate, Shaker Vibrato. Shnobel does a great job of explaining it, or check out the shorter official rundown below. It will be available later this year for $399.