The Wire

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The Mire: Tangents, threads and opinions from The Wire HQ

Guitar Craftsman

Derek Walmsley

Keith Rowe and Fred Frith are perpetual reference points for The Wire – two figures who turned the electric guitar on its head (or more accurately on its back). While such techniques aren't exactly mainstream these days – the only tabletop or laptop guitarists from the hit parade who spring to mind are either Nashville Country types or Canadian blues guitarist Jeff Healey – the history of these anti-technique techniques does hang heavy over newer practioners. I imagine those who take a tangential approach to the instrument days get heartily sick of being constantly compared to Rowe and Frith – and rightly so. The tabletop guitar approach can, sometimes, be in danger of being fetished as much as the loose-strapped guitar-slinging style.

Weirdly refreshing, then, to watch the video vignettes sent to me by American guitarist Morgan Craft. Because of the visuals you can't see what he's doing with the guitar, and it leaves your mind free to wander without the shadow of previous technicians hanging over it. Apparently, it's done live with no overdubs, and is genuinely otherworldly at times. For all I know, he's doing the whole lot with his foot on the monitor through a Marshall Stack, but I kind of doubt it.

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