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.
Those familiar with Anthony Pirog from his work with the duo Janel and Anthony or from his solo record, Palo Colorado Dream, might be surprised by the pugnacious shredding he evidences in his new band, The Messthetics. They shouldn’t be, though. If you lie down with punks you wake up with aggro, and joining Pirog in the band is the former Fugazi rhythm section of Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty. The Messthetics also let’s Pirog channel his inner Sonny Sharrock, which combined with his mastery of effects makes for one of the most exciting modern guitar records so far this year.
When an artist and session player like Leo Abrahams is continually involved in so many varied and interesting musical endeavors, it is essential to catch up. For the first time we actually spoke rather than emailed and an interview turned into a conversation, starting with a discussion of another wide-ranging guitarist we both love, Chris Spedding (Elton John, Bryan Ferry, John Cale, Robert Gordon et al), before getting into gear and aleatory music concepts.
We first interviewed Dan Phelps three years after the release of Modular, his collaboration with drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Viktor Krauss. His fourth release, Arc, continues his er, arc, of making records that employ great drummers (in this case, the legendary Jim Keltner), great guitar tones and technique, and an exemplary command of both live and studio effects. It seemed like a good time to pay Phelps another visit, this time for a wide-ranging discussion about his new record and his awesome gear.
The good news is that NAMM keeps growing. The better news is that the amount of gear, well, geared to the modern guitarist is growing as well. This year, Anaheim featured a plethora of pedals that made new and glorious noises, a far cry from your standard Tube Screamer and Klon clones (though there were some great versions of the latter from J. Rockett). Also in evidence were unique guitars that managed to look both modern and retro. Hall E, always the land of new ideas good and bad, this time served up some really good ones.
The only bad news was how difficult it was for my one-man show to cover even the equipment of interest to Guitar Moderne readers. Premier Guitar and Guitar Player offer access to much of what I missed, but here is what I found to be the best of the rest.
Nick Reinhart shows what you can do with some Red Panda pedals and a Line 6 DL-4. Check out the color coordinated strap, sneakers and pedal. The man is talented and stylin’.