Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

559

Sten Hostfalt: 29 Pieces for the Microtonal Guitar: Live at Knitting Factory New York

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Multi-instrumentalist Joe Maneri's recent release Angles of Repose demonstrated exactly how cogent his microtonal approach to improvisation has been, using extended techniques to expand on the sonic capabilities of more traditional instruments. Clearly inspired by Maneri, Sten Hostfalt takes the more rigid confines of the guitar and transforms it into an instrument equally capable of exploring the minute spaces between traditional notes by using altered tunings, mechanical preparations and electronically enhanced techniques. The result, 29 Pieces for the Microtonal Guitar , is an intriguing recording that shows just how far an instrument can be bent and altered to meet a more experimental and adventurous need.

Clocking in at a brief forty minutes, the twenty-nine (well, there are actually thirty) pieces are extreme miniatures, many as short as thirty seconds, with the longest being a succinct three-and-a-half minutes. While Maneri is the clear primary interest, Hostfalt also pays tribute to Jimmy Giuffre on "Eight Variations" and Paul Bley on "Major Changes"; both artists with whom he has also studied. And while, with a single guitar and minimal electronics, there isn't the same sense of drama, no microtonal work could avoid the influence of Gyorgi Ligeti, whose importance is felt to great effect briefly on "Sarabande."

What is surprising about the recording is how listenable it is. As alien as the harmonies are, as abstruse as the overall concept is, Hostfalt's approach draws the listener into its most extrinsic world. Even rapid-fire and more aggressive pieces like "Micronic" and "Roll" manage to lull the listener with a somehow hypnotic sensibility. The more processed pieces that comprise the five-part suite "Alive on the Dead Screen" may be more jagged and sharp, but they still create an ambience that is strangely appealing. This may not make fans of listeners with a more traditional allegiance to rhythm and harmony, but for those with ears broad enough to allow for the possibility that music can extend beyond the expected, and expand the potent boundaries of experience, 29 Pieces for the Microtonal Guitar constitutes a trip well-worth taking. Hostfalt takes you on a journey to a place where rules, quite simply, don't exist, and anything is possible. William S. Burroughs once wrote "exterminate all rational thought" and, while there is an unquestionable logic behind Hostfalt's work, it is so rooted in the unusual as to have the appearance of complete abandon.


Track Listing: I - Lighters: Sun Shot; Dialogue; Argument; Monologue; Epilogue
II - Major Changes: Spare Change; Second Chance; No Chance; Minor Change; Major Change; The Boat
III - Eight Variations: Scope; Variation; Poem; Sarabande; Tres Agile; Ballade; Micronic; Roll
IV - Alive on the Dead Screen: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V
V - Diplomacy: Danse Populaire; Dance Venetiano
VI - Lighters II: Sun Shot Reale; Dein Mund, Wie Eine Dreiecke; Closer
Icons

Personnel: Sten H?stf?lt (compositions, microtonal guitar, live electronics)

Title: 29 Pieces for the Microtonal Guitar: Live at Knitting Factory New York | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: g-wOw


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Volume 5" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 5
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "So Nice!" CD/LP/Track Review So Nice!
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 30, 2017
Read "Inside The Moment" CD/LP/Track Review Inside The Moment
by James Nadal
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Get Up And Go" CD/LP/Track Review Get Up And Go
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 6, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!