This is kind of a multi-purpose page based on the various things I do. I spend a lot of time improvising and typically try to make most of those as non-guitaristic (i.e. non-clichéd) as possible, but it makes sense to post the things that are more straight forward guitar here as well.
Copyright issues prevent me from posting any of the commercials or many of the recordings that I’ve played on. While this is unfortunate from the standpoint of documentation – I fully respect the wishes and rights of the people I’ve been fortunate enough to play with and for.
With that in mind here’s a guide:
If you’ve come here from a lessons post and want to hear more – I’ve posted a series of short acoustic and electric excerpts below so you don’t have to listen to 15 minute tracks.
(Note: My main focus has been live film scoring – so those excerpts and the more “out” things I do are further down the page.)
As a player I try to bring a number of influences in that allude to various things without quoting any of them directly.
For straight-up guitar playing, I think this live except of me taking a solo on the traditional Irish tune Drowsy Maggie is the best example I have of a bunch of divergent styles (like bluegrass, koto and Vlatko Stevfanovski) coming together in what (for me) is an interesting way.
or something like this improvised beginning of a piece in a Malian guitar style which brings in some other elements as well.
or this taksim played on baglama saz.
Speaking of Saz and fretless guitar – here’s an excerpt I played multiple instruments on from the God of War II video game:
Currently, I play in a group called KoriSoron in the Capital Region of New York. Here’s a brief excerpt of improvisations with that group trading solos with Farzad Golpayegani:
For straight up electric playing I’d point to something like this live excerpt from the Tubtime CD. Featuring Joe Rauen on bass and Geoff chase on drums the music is all 100% improvised. For more experimental approaches wrapped in a rock sound – be sure to check out the CD baby Tubtime page:
There’s also this piece I played on from the Trials Evolution video game:
You can read a lot more about the session and some tips for session playing in general in a post I wrote for guitar-muse.com here.
This live trio piece with the Rough Hewn Trio (a loosely knit instrumental trio consisting of Chris Lavender on Warr guitar/Chapman stick, Craig Bunch on drums and myself on guitar) which has a focus on combining pre-composed and improvised material. You can see a more shreddy live excerpt below :
BTW – this is a strange piece from Chris Lavender’s senior recital. Chris heard a recording of a jam excerpt that we did, that he liked so much that he transcribed large parts of it and had us play it as a head. The guitar work on it isn’t really nuanced – but that wasn’t the point of the jam. ; ) The shreddy stuff happens from about 2:45-…
or a spacey one here
Visible Inc. was a live hip hop band I played with for about a year that recorded 2 eps. Survival was the first time I recorded with my beloved baglama saz that was given to be by my good friend Ergin Ozler. We recorded a 3 song demo in practice rooms and random spaces and Pawel Sek mixed it down. While the second ep we did was tracked in a “real” studio, there was something kind of cool about the first 3 tracks sonically.
Visible Inc. was:
Art Collins, Shizz Newton, Craig – MC’s
Carl Barc – Bass
Scott Collins – baglama, guitar & loops
Pawel S – Drums
Rich Stein – Percusion
(copyright 2001 all rights reserved.)
From Daren Burns’ description on Vimeo:
“Onibaba exists between composition and improvisation and is described as being somewhere between the light and the dark, the ethereal and the earthly – Creative Music. Created by Daren Burns in 2006, the band synthesizes its sound by using elements of the Chicago avant-garde, jazz, rock, world, techno, noise, and classical, to create a new type of fusion that is definitely not the smooth, funky jazz of the 80’s and 90’s, but a new living music.
Vinny Golia – woodwinds
Geroge McMullen – trombone
Scott Collins – guitar
Daren Burns – bass
Craig Bunch – drums/percussion (in the videos Joe Berardi – drums/percussion)
Kio Griffith – live video
© Urban Nerds 2010″
This is actually part of my Ultrasonic review, but I’m putting the mp3 here as well. Ren, is an improvised track based around a simple melody and harmonic idea. What actually happened is I was playing a solo laptop gig and found a drum loop and remembered to hit record on Logic. The performance is heartfelt though, even when the guitar goes out of tune at the end hence its inclusion here. This is a headphone mix w. kind of a Daniel Lanois vibe. This was played on an FNH Ultrasonic going into a pod X3 into Logic. Drums are Tunetrack.
For those of you who know the more experimental/improvisational elements of my playing – you may want to start with the Duodenum/Tubtime links below or check out this improvisation with Ulrich Krieger and Mark Trayle:
Improvisation and Links to Visual Things:
One of my favorite sonic co-conspirators is Carmina Escobar. She does some truly amazing work with solo voice, loops and music concrete elements in improvisation and I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with her in a duo improvisation project called DuoDenum for the last year. During that time, we have accompanied a number of silent films, but our goal was always to work in real-time composition with real-time film to allow an immediate connection with the audience by creating something anchored in the present moment.
This recording was an improvised accompaniment made to a Live Film created by the incredible Solu (Mia Mikela) @ USC. Some of the source material we were improvising to can be seenhere.
Information on Solu and her work can be found here.
Written and recorded in real-time and captured by a Zoom H4 .
This recording was an improvised accompaniment made to the film Page of Madness at Art Center College of Design on 09_10_09. Written and recorded in real-time and captured by a Zoom H4 , the video is the first 6 minutes of the film.
We have done video collaborations that can be seen here as well.
Much of my favorite improvisation work is done in duo contexts. This recording was made with a Zoom H4 and features Ingo Deul on drums. Ingo and I later went on to do an improvised accompaniment to the film Regen (Rain).
The true origins of my improvisation exploration have its roots in work I was doing with drummer Geoff Chase in Boston. He had a project called “Directive 4” that featured rock improvisation and out of those sessions came the impetus of the Tubtime project.
At what we didn’t realize to be the very end of the TubTime cycle – we moved from the practice space we were recording in and booked a day at Moontower Studio in Cambridge.
I told the engineer to record everything that happened, which fortunately he did – because this was 1/2 of the soundcheck we did to check levels.
Written and tracked in real time.
Patty Barkas – Vocals
Geoff Chase – Drums
Scott Collins – handsonic, guitar & loops
Keichi Hashimoto – Trumpet
Joe Rauen – Bass & Loops
Random tech note follow for Visible Inc./Tubtime tone sources:
As I write this, I’m reminded that my pedalboard at the time was HUGE, took a big red 88 key keyboard fight case to fit in and weighed a ton. I think the signal chain was:
- guitar to tuner
- Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
- vintage Big Muff Pi
- Digitech Space Station
- T.C. Electronics Chorus
- Memory Man Delay
- Akai Headrush looper
- Vox Wah and
- another Ernie Ball volume pedal that went into
- the front end of a Fender Hot Rod Deville (4×10 amp).
The amp and most the effects were stolen from a rehearsal space several years later. This was essentially the signal chain for the Tubtime stuff as well.