More and more guitarists are experimenting with noise. Making noise with a guitar is easy; making music with noise, not so much. Álvaro Domene has mastered the art of turning non-pitched abrasive sounds into a kind of beauty. “Beta Particle,” on his record The Compass is record offers up a glitchy din ala Stian Westerhus, but with Domene’s personal stamp all over it. Elsewhere, ambient clean tones morph into Wagnerian waves of distortion, as he employs the entire range his 7-string guitar. He joins a growing number of European-born players making, er, noise on New York City’s modern guitar scene.
Rumors of this pedal have been flying around since 2015; it has appeared at the last two winter NAMM shows in various forms; but is only now available as Curt Malouin will release no pedal before its time. A while back we touted the Hologram Infinite Jets Resynthesizer as the ultimate modern guitar pedal, and for sheer variety of non-traditional sounds available in a single pedal it may still reign. But coming up fast is the Red Panda Tensor, with its more board-friendly size, MIDI capability, ease of use, and ease on the pocketbook.
Go to 7:27 to jump to the playing.
This year’s winter NAMM was INSANE! Thursday was as crowded as a typical Saturday and it escalated from there. The noise floor was non-stop jet-engine level. I came home with ears ringing and NAMMthrax. Was it worth it? You bet. Three full days was barely enough to cover all the cool stuff. It opened with a terrific concert band doing a modern composition that incorporated either recorded or live recitations from young people (I couldn’t see from my vantage point) about the difficulties of growing up. This boded well for a forward-thinking show and, in fact, there were ample examples of manufacturers leaving the traditional behind to explore new territory.
Other than the upward trajectory of the business evidenced by the crowd, the only trend I noticed was the invasion of the pedal market by Greece and Brazil. As usual, NAMM often stands for “Not Available, Maybe May,” so stay tuned to the manufactures’ sites and guitarmoderne.com for updates, and, if you would like to hear me talk about this year’s winter NAMM, check out Matt Wakeling’s Guitar Speak podcast featuring yours truly.
In some ways, Daniele Principato is emblematic of the new breed of experimental guitarists. As The Auralab, he a prominent presence on YouTube, where he posts his process, as well as full shows. He has no website but is on Facebook. He is out of the Stian Westerhus school of often playing pedals as much as notes. He is also refreshingly forthright, as well as interesting, in his description of his relationship to music.