Sunday, December 09, 2012

12.9.2012, FTW

An interesting night of music last night. While a couple of old bandmates were performing at Lola's (Ray's LP release show with Vorvon and Jon's triumphant return from Pinkish Black's East Coast tour) and young political punks Not Half Bad were tearing it up at 1919 Hemphill, I was here at mi casa, toggling between some new unreleased tracks another fave local band shared with me, Darryl Wood's live USTREAM from his "noise room," and the music of Marco Oppedisano, an electric guitarist and electroacoustic composer from Brooklyn whose work I was first exposed to via a track on the Axe experimental guitar compilation I reviewed a couple of days ago.

Darryl, ex-Parasite Lost and Confusatron, does interesting things with samples and loops, besides playing guitar and bass. He's guested with HIO, as well as performing with Darrin Kobetich in The Panic Basket. Last night, I tuned in to hear Darryl demonstrating a new sampling tool for Darrin, who laid down some guitar through and over it. Both men are good examples of what Robert Fripp called "small, mobile intelligent units," which the King Crimson founder and Frippertonics inventor reckoned back at the dawn of the '80s were going to replace the rock band model exemplified by the Beatles.

With the advent of sampling and home recording technology, it seems his vision has been borne out. These days, there's a whole lot of music being made in home studios and shared via the intarweb, through portals like Alonetone, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Soundcloud, and Vimeo, to name just a handful of sites that offer music creators free bandwidth to share their wares, for free or for lucre. It's manifested in things like the $100 Guitar Project, subject of an upcoming documentary and double CD, wherein a cheapie instrument made its way across the country and through the hands of 65 players, each of whom used it to record an original piece of music.

The aforementioned Marco Oppedisano was one of the guitarists who contributed to the project. Oppedisano's own work combines impressive chops -- precise, expressive execution and a highly tweaked tone -- with a composer's ear for atmospheric effects. Some of his electronic soundscapes capture the busy bustle of his native city, while others conjure desolate, post-apocalyptic worlds, or unimagined vistas of space (inner or outer). Oppedisano cites influences including guitarists Fripp, David Torn, and Jeff Beck (whose recent guest appearance with the Rolling Stones perhaps unintentionally demonstrated just how far he's surpassed the rest of his contemporaries), and composers Francis Dhomont and Iannis Xenakis. I also hear a bit of Richard Pinhas. And he uses feedback as a melodic element in ways Beck and Hendrix only dreamt of.

Released in 2007, Oppedisano's Electroacoustic Compositions for Electric Guitar, a compendium of pieces recorded between 1999 and 2005, is anything but a "guitar record," and that's intended as a compliment. Instead, the album showcases Oppedisano's spacey, cinematic compositional artistry. The Ominous Corner (2008) and Mechanical Uprising (2010) let you hear their creator's fluid fretwork in contexts where it's more recognizable as fretwork, set against dark, brooding electronic backgrounds that recall Frank Zappa's Civilization Phaze III, juxtaposing metal and musique concrete in a manner of which FZ would approve. Tesla At Coney Island, a 2008 collaboration with sound artist David Lee Myers, is more ambient and atmospheric, replete with beguiling sound textures, and a good place to start.

When I started playing in HIO, I deliberately avoided listening to experimental music in a foolish attempt to avoid being influenced by anybody else (in the same way I feared listening to Robin Trower when I was a snotnose because I realized how easy it would have been to fall into copycatting the copycat). These days, I find myself listening to a lot of music like Oppedisano's, because it's easily accessible online and because, like Radio Raheem, I often don't want to hear anything else. I am also coming to realize that I'm drawn to continue with HIO in ways I'm not with the Stoogeband, because with HIO, while I felt like we never realized our potential, I also felt that everytime we played, we came closer to achieving it. How many times in life do we get to experience that feeling?


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