You may have read more than you can bear about the iconic role of the guitar in the second half of this century. There are articles that speak of the instrument’s phallic significance, its womanly shape, or note that, as a sign, it is as easy to draw or recognise as the cross. Then there’s plenty of sociological chatter about the guitar as symbol of teenage rebellion, romantic independence or totem of youth for ageing Western males – not to mention the endless technical delight in strings, bridges, action and pick-ups that fill several specialist magazines each month.
Because of this plethora of comment, UP06 refrains from generalisations about the guitar in creative music. We are happy to make a few welcoming gestures into the wildly different (but intensely personal) sound worlds of DAVID TOOP, DOCTOR NERVE, and BILL FRISELL, who’s heard here playing against MIKE GIBBS’ rich score for the BCMG. And anybody who has ever attended a rock soundcheck will feel at home with the way both TERRY EDWARDS and DAVE DRAPER investigate the scratchy details of processed electric guitar. Elsewhere, MARC RIBOT strings along happily with JOHN ZORN on SEIGEN ONO’s witty melodies; ELLIOTT SHARP, DAVID STAROBIN and G P HALL purposefully take the acoustic guitar in three different directions of sound and technique; ROBERT POSS finds a kind of strange beauty from noise; and RENE LUSSIER buzzes in and out of the huge forces of GILLES GOBEIL’s imagination. BERT LAMS’ good-humoured blues for the ROBERT FRIPP STRING QUINTET incorporates a compact lexicon of guitar techniques and ideas that are performed with great relish. BILLY JENKINS’ little detuned solo pieces act as punctuation to the compilation, while a new regular item – work in progress – features a sketch for an unrealised JEREMY PEYTON JONES opus. The whole issue is rounded off with a cracking scratchpad of UNCOMMERCIAL COMMERCIALS and a sometimes overlooked contemporary classic, dating from 1967, by the much-missed FRANK ZAPPA and the MOTHERS OF INVENTION. © 1995 JLW