There are no end of summer festivals. In fact no one can say when we will see any more festivals—period. Still, you can always count on more virtual, germ-free festivals here at Guitar Moderne.
Normally I would just post this on the Guitar Moderne Facebook page, but it is so, well, fanasticos! that I had to give it a real post. Modern sounds and looping with a CRT screen based guitar? WTF! From the Japan based Electronicos Fantasticos! website: “Electronicos Fantasticos! (aka: Nikos), led by artist/musician Ei Wada, revives electrical appliances that have finished their roles into new ‘electromagnetic musical instruments’ while involving everyone. This project gradually shapes the orchestra.”
Modern electric guitar music has, at times, suffered from bouts of sameness. Employing techniques pioneered over a half century ago by Derek Bailey and Fred Frith, guitarists fanatically avoid repetitive rhythmic and/or melodic motifs and use similar preparations, to the point where they all sound virtually identical. Perhaps the form had to go through growing pains.
More recently, whether due to more schooled guitarists entering the field with wider technical skills and musical tastes, or the many new processors that allow a wealth of distinctive tones, a plethora of players, from all over the world, are creating personal voices within this idiom. The records here, solo and band, emanate from Italy, Argentina, and the US, each with its own approach to modern guitar performance.
Though live music shows are starting again, it is with limited audiences—hence limited money, so it would help these artists if you were to buy their recordings. Also, it will give you something to do all while we all wait this out.
I first saw Brandon Ross with Cassandra Wilson back in the Nineties. His application of a jazz sensibility to Wilson’s Sarah Vaughn meets Joni Mitchell stylings was revelatory. I later learned about the amazing Harriet Tubman, his band with drummer J.T. Lewis and bassist Melvin Gibbs, but am sorry to say it was at a time when I was not ready for them. Delving into Ross’ work for this interview, I discovered that he embodies everything Guitar Moderne is about: personal style, adventurous playing, disregard for genre, and experiments with electronics. Our conversation ranged wide and very long. I tried to include the best bits here.