John Cage’s week: Go Guitars by Seth Josel (1998, oodiscs 0036) on #neuguitars #blog


Go Guitars by Seth Josel (1998, oodiscs 0036)

1 Septet 6:55
2 Go Guitars 12:00
3 Guitar too, for four 30:28
4 Solitude Sessions I 6:48
5 Solitude Sessions II 13:36
6 Five 5:00
Composed By – James Tenney (tracks: 1), John Cage (tracks: 6), Lois V. Vierk (tracks: 2), Phill Niblock (tracks: 3), Seth Josel (tracks: 4, 5)

Electric guitar gets run over by a car on the highway
This is a crime against the state
This is the meaning of life.
To tune this electric guitar

I do not know if Seth Josel knows Talking Heads, and especially this song on the record “Fear of Music” entitled Electric Guitar, because the lyrics marries particularly well with the music on this CD released in 1998 which has as its main focus the concept that the electric guitar, although it presents some similarities in the way it’s played with the classical and the acoustic guitar, is actually a whole other instrument.


The “simple” fact that the sound is not generated by the resonance of the strings on the acoustic box but by the pick-ups and therefore by the interaction of magnetic fields with the metal strings makes it quite another thing. The music of this album seems to have been composed and played just to demonstrate and highlight this ineluctable diversity. Spearhead of the album is the extraordinary Guitar too for four (1996) by Phill Niblock, over thirty minutes of magnificent powerful guitar drones extracted from four instruments, a real slow waves of sound, very colorful, almost baroque in their chromatic richness, a true sea of ​​sound in which to plunge, close your eyes and let yourself be carried. By contrast Five (1988) by John Cage, a seemingly simple piece in its abstractness, in its sonorous nudity, in alternating sounds and silences as one of those Zen abstract paintings where the whole is represented with a single unbroken ink brush stroke china generated by 5 guitars.

The two Solitude Sessions I & II (1992) composed by the same Josel are really beautiful, two musical abstractions true sampling of the potential of his electric guitar, they hit me above all with their saturated and full, warm sound.
Septet (1981) by James Tenney recalls certain things of Steve Reich a sort of work in progress where the guitar seems to be used as a percussion instrument with geometrically ordered and arranged sounds, almost like a gigantic musical origami, while the obsessive notes of the twelve minutes of Go Guitars (1981) by Lois V Vierk grow progressively to become in the finale a unique gigantic, monstrous sound centrifuge. Great. To be included in the study plan of any contemporary and avant guitarist.