The Adam Levy Interview

Adam Levy and I go back decades and it was a pleasure to talk to him about how he developed his distinctive voice, what makes a modern guitarist, and more. For more about Adam’s history and great gear talk, click “more” to watch his interview with my friend Zac Childs.

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Oz Noy Honors Monk

One commenter on this video laments Oz Noy’s use of effects for this tune as self-indulgent.  What they apparently fail to understand is that by pushing the sounds into the future, Oz is honoring another pioneer. Thelonious Monk was often misunderstood during his lifetime by people who wanted to keep hearing the basic swing of an Oscar Peterson or an Earl Hines. Many performers of Monk tunes over the years miss the spirit of his quirky style and merely play standard bebop and blues licks over the changes (Bill Frisell being a notable exception). Oz’s work here displays a mastery of modern effects, as well as blazing chops.

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Robert Plant’s Brief Encounter With Avant Guitar

Robert Plant has been a musically restless soul since his youthful days with some big British band. His solo work since they split has echoed elements of the last five decades of music without ever pandering to current fads or trading on his past glories. He is a musician first, a music lover, and from all reports a nice guy. And, for a brief time, he worked with a decidedly different guitarist.


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Swollen Brain: Nick Reinhart and Eric Gardner—The Cardboard Sessions.

I have seen Nick Reinhart improvise brilliantly with a set of pedals he was handed less than an hour before. Here, he and Gardner pull off an improv that sounds like a fully composed piece, with Nick using a guitar made of cardboard (including the neck). Check it out, as well as a video on the making of this unusual instrument.


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Spotlight: Elio Martusciello

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.

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