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.
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.
If you are a modern guitarist you need to know about Rainger FX pedals. In the world of effects manufacturers, it sometimes seems that, not only are there too many versions of a tube screamer, but that even with the more modern effects, i.e. glitch, micro-loopers, etc., effects manufacturers are often releasing variations on a theme—not so David Rainger.
At first glance, his pedals can seem like some random gimmick, designed to be willfully different. Further investigation reveals that, for starters, their basic sounds are uniformly terrific: musical, lush, warm—all the usual coveted qualities. It’s just that on top of that Rainger has added functions that demand creativity, often inspired by non-guitar music like hip-hop and synth-based songs. It is a joy to watch his pedals force Mick and Dan into new sonic territory and the palpable joy it brings them. (Check out my review of the Mini Bar here)
Happy New Year. My interview with Markus Reuter is long overdue. He has been a major part of the modern guitar community for decades, from his brilliant work with The Stickmen and versions of King Crimson, to his recordings ranging from ambient to prog, to his terrific podcast featuring a number of modern guitarists. He has worked with Tim Motzer, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp and Mark Wingfield among others. Our conversation ranges wide and long, covering many things of interest to the modern guitarist.