One upside of sheltering in place is that it has given me time to get back to playing guitar through my Laptop/iPad rig. I posted some video snippets on Facebook, which prompted some questions about my setup. You can read about some of my earlier experiences here. But the time seems ripe to reveal the results of some improvements in both my technique and the technology.
Every now and then, a pedal comes along that embodies the concept of modern electric guitar. Hologram Electronics’ Microcosm is one such pedal. Here is modern guitarist extraordinaire Mike Baggetta’s “non-demo,” where he shows you how to make music with it. I also include Hologram Electronics’ specs and some other demo videos. Not a cheap pedal but not bad for something that is more like a musical instrument. Pre-order is now open for the second batch of Microcosms, shipping in late June 2020.
A new Torn record is always a cause for celebration, but FUR/TORN is a bonanza for fans of the artist’s guitar playing. Performed solo, with no overdubs, it is distilled Torn—a reduction of pure tone, technique and ideas. He performs with his Ronin “Supastah” set clean and through a variety of hairy fuzz pedals (FUR?). We talked about the vagaries of the virus, what he looks for in a fuzz, our mutual admiration of the late John Abercrombie, and much more. The video and sound came out pristine, and given that we all have more time on our hands, I thought I would offer Guitar Moderne fans a chance to sit in on our unedited conversation. Enjoy and subscribe for more like this.
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.