Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"I Never Metaguitar Four"

The "death" of the guitar continues to be periodically announced, usually by executives of guitar manufacturers or retailers whose business models have reached the point of no return, not realizing that their biggest competition is their own old product, or other merchants who can provide similar utility for less money. (Pro tip: Try marketing to women, fellas. Big untapped market.)

While the guitar's days as the dominant instrument in popular music might be over (I emphasize "might" because I'm not really tuned into the Zeitgeist enough to have an opinion), nobody bothered to tell the 16 solo performers whose work is compiled in this latest volume of Elliott Sharp's outstanding series of anthologies for the estimable Portuguese Clean Feed label. Rather than hot licks, slick chops, or NAMM booth flash, they operate in a realm of extended techniques, imaginative signal processing, and composer's intent. With the exceptions of American in Paris Rhys Chatham, Finnish jazz rocker Kalle Kalima, the late Ornette Coleman sideman Bern Nix (to whom this volume is dedicated), and Brooklyn-based electro-acoustic composer Marco Oppedisano, all of these players are unfamiliar to me, which is part of what makes things like this such a treat. As is my custom with comps, I shall provide three-word reviews of each track.

Knox Chandler -- Everything is pulse.
Tashi Dorji -- ECU episodic atonality.
Monika Roscher -- Alien insect transmission.
Rhys Chatham -- Slow motion arpeggios.
Kalle Kalima -- Neil Young waltz.
Ryan Choi -- Multiple aleatory voices.
Marco Oppedisano -- Who "Relay" synthesis.
Bern Nix -- Peripatetic chord melody.
Markus Reuter -- Celestial chiming harmonics.
Hahn Rowe -- Concentric feedback circles.
Pete Matthiessen -- Resonator tone poem.
Robert Poss -- Drones for dancers.
Ron Anderson -- Neural net soundtrack.
Morgan Craft -- Overlapping long tones.
Roberto Zorzi -- Pitch shifted soundscape.
Erdem Helvacioglu -- Delicate pastoral vignette.

The truest response to those executives I alluded to at the top of this post might be this: The guitar is not a commodity. It's a tool, a canvas, a medium for expression. Long after your quarterly reports are filed, creative humans will be using it to shout at the sky, "I am."


Post a Comment

<< Home