Many of this year’s picks were recorded before 2020, for obvious reasons. Works by veterans (Sharp, Alcorn, Björkenheim) joined some newer voices (Naylor, Yalvaç, Gargaud) in offering us quality distractions from a nightmarish year. If you hear anything you like, please purchase something from the artist. With touring off the table, times are tougher than usual for experimental artists.
It is still looking like summer festival season will be cancelled. But fear not; you can count on Guitar Moderne to continue to supply virtual, germ-free festivals like this. Pandemic is creating new paradigms for performance. Solo looping, already popular, ensures social distancing from band members. Those musicians brave (or foolhardy—you be the judge) enough to play together in an enclosed space are often doing so without an audience save for a skeleton camera crew.
Some emotional vignettes, a bunch of Mary Halvorson, and, to start off, a set by Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy.
Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy Doors Of Perception [Cuneiform Records]
Björkenheim adds some new tones to his signature edgy yet vocal style, (like wave form distortion), yet his distinctive instrumental voice continues to shine through.