Thursday, May 21, 2015

Coclea, Guilherme Goncalves

There are artists today who make almost orchestral music out of the electric guitar, using effects and digital technology. I see nothing wrong with this. It comes out of a long line of guitar transformations that started in rock, found its first fully cohesive statement in early Jimi Hendrix, then continued to evolve with Rypdal, Fripp, Lucas and so forth into today.

A new entry into ambient psychedelic sonics can be heard on the album Coclea (ShhPuma 015), a nicely paced CD of compositions that make full use of the very electric guitar and the possibilities the studio situation affords. Guilherme Goncalves is the composer of the music heard. He also presumably is the guitarist and overall sound sculptor responsible for the end musical result. There are vocals here too, and perhaps some purely electronic elements though I don't believe so, for what it is worth.

Whether this is live with digital delay or multi-tracked I cannot say for sure and frankly I don't care. Perhaps this is a controversial view but as much as I love the live situation, the digital world gives us the chance to create musical worlds as a painter works with canvas and pigment, and I don't see a problem with that. The finished painting is always a product of multiple "live" actions and other than the old Zen spontaneous single-gesture artists of the East, it is never really "live" in the moment. Why cannot a musical artist have the same freedom, if he or she so wishes? A classical composer in the traditional sense is not required to write out all the parts simultaneously, but works in time and over time. Not everything is improvised though the construction of all musical work involves successive elements of improvisation and revision over time, much as a jazz artist practices.

What matters to me is the musical result. And with Coclea it is strongly evocative, ambient, a bit spooky perhaps, but also showing a fine sensitivity to the sound an electric guitar can provide in the extended electronically enhanced world and some memorable compositional results.

I don't care what this music is called. It may not be jazz. It may not be rock. It is new music and it is highly stimulating. And if that means something to you, so much the better. It is well-done and stays in your mind. And so I recommend it for that.

The point is to me that music like this does not negate other music so much as it adds to our musical legacy if it is good. It is good.

No comments:

Post a Comment