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.
On the occasion of three decades of service to the avant-garde community, I would like to wish Downtown Music Gallery a Happy Birthday, with hopes for many more to come. I encourage you to try them first when seeking out records by modern guitarists so they can continue far into the future. Check out this video of artists paying tribute to this singular shop.
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.
In 2019, I kept running into Ed Pettersen at Big Ears. We had some interesting conversations during which I learned that we both lived in Nashville and that he was something of a musical polymath. He recently sent me an email describing the effect that Covid has had on his musical plans. I thought that many GM readers could relate and that it would be a good time to officially introduce Pettersen to the Guitar Moderne community.