I hadn’t seen a true concert in over three years. A show at the Jazz a Junas festival seemed ideal: small, outdoors, 40 minutes away from our apartment in Nîmes over mostly non-life-threatening roads.
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.
I have written extensively here and in Electronic Musician about my search for a way to combine the power of Ableton Live with the different but similar power of the many sonic mangling apps available to iOS users. Lewitt’s Connect 6 ($299) might just be the end point of that search.
Well, here they are: my ten faves from 2022; a little late (okay a lot late), but it would be a shame if you missed out on any of these terrific releases from the past twelve months. I urge you to go back through the Record Pick posts throughout the year to check out other fine recordings that didn’t make the cut. So, in no particular order.