When Stian Westerhus posted on his Facebook page about participating on a new record it sent me down a rabbit hole that led to one of the best modern improvising ensembles I have ever seen. One of Belgian drummer Teun Verbruggen’s many projects is a quartet called Warped Dreamer, featuring himself on drums and electronics, Arve Henriksen on trumpet and electronics, Stian on guitar and electronics, and Jozef Dumoulin on Fender Rhodes and electronics. These videos from 2014 show how four top-notch instrumentalists, who are also highly conversant with the use of processing and electronics, can come together to make dynamic, boundry-less but cohesive music. Beautifully shot and recorded, it is a shame that it doesn’t exist as an unedited whole, if only because it feels like a few minutes are missing here and there. Still, it is necessary viewing for any modern guitarist. Look for the new record on Consouling Sounds February 26.
Stian Westerhus and Eivind Aarset were two of the main guitarists that led me to found Guitar Moderne. With their obvious technical skills, command of analog and digital effects, and rock star charisma, they made it easy to get excited about new forms of guitar playing. Stian has just released a recording of a live set from DOKK-huset in Trondheim Norway, available on Bandcamp. Even though half the performance is Westerhus processing his vocals, there is plenty of astounding guitar. If you purchase the audio recording, you get access to a beautifully shot video of the live performance. We talked about the record and many, many other things.
Stay in a nice air-conditioned space during this heat wave and enjoy a festival of modern guitar superstars and young upstarts.
Stian Westerhus, with Helge Sten on Buchla-synth, Frode Haltli on accordion, Ståle Storløkken on keys, and, Erland Dahlen on drums
It’s that time of year again: Trees being decorated, candles being lit, balls being dropped, and, of course, year-end top ten lists. You love ’em, you hate ’em but no publication worthy of the name is without them. So here is mine. There were many great records of modern guitar released this year (read about them in the various Record picks posts) but these are the ones that found their way most often to my virtual turntable.