I once read a quote from Paul Klee, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” I took it to mean that a true artist made you see in a new way, one that hadn’t occurred until you encountered their work. One aspect of David Toop’s artistry lies in writing about music and sound in a way that changes the way you hear. It is not an exaggeration to say that reading his books Haunted Weather and Ocean of Sound changed my life. I lived in New York City at the time and much of what I had heretofore heard as noise pollution became a symphony of sound. So, I was chuffed, as they say on David’s side of the pond, to be able to converse with him at length about music and sound.
A performer as well as a writer (see Below), Toop has shared the stage with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Thurston Moore. A lifelong guitarist, Toop’s latest recording, Apparition Paintings, combines his love of twang, his encyclopedic knowledge of sound art (a term he might not care for) and a wanton disregard for genre.
People love lists; at least the majority of publications seem to think so. They stir up controversy, which attracts attention. Thus I feel almost obligated to offer a year’s best list, for this, our first year of publication.
Keep in mind that the top twelve, listed in no particular order, merely represents the recordings, released this year (ish), that I found myself returning to over the course of time. In the spirit of Guitar Moderne, I list them primarily to incite readers to check 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—my best, if you will. 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. Continue reading →
I have seen Christopher Willits perform and interviewed him numerous times over the years. In many ways he epitomizes the multitasking of the modern electronic musician: i.e. collaborations with other artists, designing personalized software, teaching, touring, and recording. His new recording, Ancient Future [Ghostly International] is his second collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto. It differs from their first meeting (Ocean Fire), in that Sakamoto’s piano and Willits’ guitar are more recognizable as such throughout, but is no less textural and evocative for all that. In this video he explains a little about his process on Ancient Future. He was also kind enough to take on the additional task of answering the Guitar Moderne questionnaire.