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Lest anyone think that the use of electric guitar, effects processor and laptop prescribes a particular type of sound or a particular way of playing, here is Michael Renkel to disabuse them of the notion; there are as many ways and sounds as there are players.
Renkel used his guitar as a source of non-traditional guitar soundsincluding using e-bow and percussive techniqueswhich were then sent to an effects processor and thence to two laptops. We need not get too bogged down here with exactly what happened next. Suffice to say that Renkel used the results to construct an untitled, uninterrupted 67-minute track. Rather than having an obvious overarching structure, it is an episodic piece, a series of loosely related themes rather than a coherent narrative. But each of the episodes is enthralling enough to effortlessly hold the attention and none of them outstays its welcome, thus making for a rich, kaleidoscopic experience.
Throughout, it bears few telltale signs of its guitar origins, being more of an electronics and percussion piece. And that last detail is crucial; Renkel is never shy of establishing a rhythmic pattern andwith subtle variationsletting it run its course for a prolonged period of time. The result is music that will have you tapping your feet and grooving along as often as it will have you pondering the question of what the latest soundscape reminds you of. (You may recall that Renkel did something similar a few years back with Mowen & Moos Remix. Hmmm... How long until he gives us an all-out dance album?)
Finally, let's just take a moment to admire the beautiful packaging of this CD. The oversized sleeve (but not as large as the label's usual 7 sleeves) is screen printedby M.R. himselfwith the striking image of close-up eyes... the kind that follow you around the room. As with the recording itself, no detail has been overlooked to make this limited edition CD one to treasure.
Track Listing: None given.
Personnel: Michael Renkel: electric guitar, FX processor, laptop.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.