AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Tellef Øgrim – Solos for Guitars [Simlas]; Ernesto Diaz-Infante – My Benign Swords [Eh?92]

Picasso’s 1912 painting Guitar on a Table shows a guitar in a vertiginous, exploded view—dismantled and seen from multiple, often incompatible, perspectives all at once. The instrument is visually deconstructed, decades before the idea of deconstruction was formulated. In a similar manner, two new releases take the solo guitar, electric and acoustic, and perform an aural deconstruction, seemingly disassembling the instrument and testing the sounds of its constituent parts.

a2443450772_16Tellef Øgrim’s Solos for Guitars is a set of ten vignettes for electric or acoustic guitar alone, presented from many angles. Øgrim does the guitar in different voices, making it sound like a reed instrument in a distorted setting (LN Has Left the Building); overdriving it through bent and distorted riffs (Fat Fit); bending and pulling the low strings to give it the gravity and twang of a rudra vina (Dolo’s Divid). In the middle of all this, the pristine sound of an acoustic guitar playing modally-flavored melodies on Lur Lokk comes as something of a disorienting experience—the normal displaced and alienated into something strange.

e92Ernesto Diaz-Infante works with nylon-string guitar and goes for a more elemental sound wherein, as with Picasso’s guitar, the sum is dissolved into the parts. The strings in particular take on a separate personality, scrabbling and popping under Diaz-Infante’s fingers, wobbling as a metal or glass object glides over them, having the ridges of their silver wrap sound at the scrape of a nail. Diaz-Infante gives as intimate a view into the instrument as one could hope to have.

Daniel Barbiero