Monday, June 13, 2011

Guitar Nerdzzzz

Finally settling back into routine after a short tour with Citay. Been awhile since I was on the road, forgot how time and place become dislodged and filtered through a fisheye lense of sleep deprivation, beer, unexpected beauty, strange personal encounters and 40 minutes of daily visceral intensity. Here are some club pics (courtesy of Pitchfork and Patrick O'Reilly):

And a link to our Mission of Burma set at the "Our Band Could Be Your Life" 10th Anniversay Concert.

Since that band is so guitar-oriented, I've definitely been working my way back towards thinking conceptually about what I'm doing on the guitar. This came to the forefront on Saturday after going to a show in Greenpoint featuring my bros STATS and Multitudes. After righteous sets by both bands, Hank from STATS suggested I stick around for the the headliner, Ahleuchatistas. I had never heard of them, but was told they were an improv duo with a stellar guitarist. Within the first 10 seconds of their set, I knew something serious was happening. The drummer was like a jazz-informed Zach Hill, restlessly working his way around the kit with constant propulsion and odd rhythmic placement. But the real find of the group was guitarist Shane Perlowin. He began by fingerpicking this melodic thicket that over the course of ten minutes morphed into a noise drone, an asian-influenced, ring modulated melodic loop and finally a metal shredfest. I left after about 15 minutes. It was 1:15am and my brain/ego could not take anymore of Perlowin's striking creativity. It was literally overwhelming.

Since that show, I've been tightening up my definition of "sound concept" as it relates to electric guitar playing. To me, "sound concept" on electric guitar is a creative tone (or several tones) pushing out of the speaker combined with well-crafted songwriting and/or melodic/non-melodic (noise, pedals) phrasing. "Sound concept" is an important idea for me and I'm always working to make improvements to it in my own playing.

Here are some guitar players that have inspired me with their strongly developed sound concepts...

Adrian Belew

D.P. Holmes

Nick Zinner (circa 2002)

Andy Gil

Andy Summers

The Edge

Bill Frisell

Brandon Ross

Nels Cline

Robin Guthrie

Kevin Shields

Eddie Van Halen

And the man who started it all...

1 comment:

Ben Harbert said...

Yes. I've been thinking about this a lot, especially after teaching a history of jazz class in which we focused on timbre as much as anything else—have you read Amiri Baraka's classic Blues People? He suggests that it is an African contribution but I think that it is also part of the oral tradition of classical music (poor instructions for timbre versus pitch and rhythm) and other genres. I also think of the way that Ali Akbar Khan would say so much in the first note he would play. I would have been satisfied just hearing that often. Interested to hear how your thoughts on this develop.