The New York Guitar Festival is one of the few things that makes me wish I still lived in New York. If you live there or can get there don’t miss it. The Festival returns this year with a week of concerts, from May 8 to May 14, followed by a day of free workshops, master classes, and panel discussions on May 15. Players of particular interest to modern guitarists in the 2016 roster include David Torn, Nels Cline, Vernon Reid, Noveller, and Wolfgang Muthspiel. The opening Mother’s Day concert at Brookfield Place Winter Garden is in honor of the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with guest curator Luther Dickinson. 2016’s Guitar Marathon will take place at The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, where rather than be confined to a single stage, the music will flow throughout the entire complex. Other venues include National Sawdust, and DROM.
Touring is getting tougher and more expensive, so Sarah Lipstate A/K/A Noveller pulled a “Honey I Shrunk The Pedal Board” for her European tour. She was kind enough to steal a moment from packing to give us the rundown. You can read about her original sized rig and see a video of it here. If you are anywhere near these shows, you can hear her make uniquely beautiful music with her new pedals.
Sarah Lipstate A/K/A Noveller is sharing her experiences touring as the opening act for St Vincent. She was kind enough to expand a little on her setup to Guitar Moderne.
“On my newest album No Dreams, I incorporated synth textures for the first time in my work as Noveller,” she explains. “I’d been working a lot with synth and other midi sound libraries for my film score work and felt inspired to try supplementing my guitar sound with tasteful synth tracks. When I started figuring out live versions of the new songs, I discovered that my iPad (coupled with the Alesis iPad dock/interface) would allow me to trigger the synth sounds using a footswitch. I use an app called BeatMaker 2 which is footswitch compatible and allows you to import high quality audio samples for playback. It’s worked great until the first show of this tour with St. Vincent. I freed up some of the memory on my iPad and that has seemed to fix the problem. Fingers crossed that it continues to work!”
“Cinematic” is an overused word when describing ambient music, but in the case of Sarah Lipstate, who records and performs as Noveller, it is thoroughly appropriate. Lipstate is a filmmaker who has been known to hand-stitch thread into celluloid to create visual experiences as unique and abstract as her recordings. Whether it induces external or internal images, her evocative record No Dreams is sure to take you on some sort of journey.
2013 that is—ten records this year; many more were released but only these seemed essential. Keep in mind that these, listed in no particular order, merely represent the recordings released this year (ish) that I found myself returning to over the course of time.
In the spirit in which Guitar Moderne exists, I list them primarily to excite readers about checking them out. They by no means are meant to be an “objective” list of the “best” recordings of the year, but only the ones that I heard and personally responded to. They very much reflect my own taste and your list will undoubtedly vary. By all means chime in and let me know what you think I missed.