The podcast goes unplugged this week! Our host, Patrick Grant is in the front parlor with James Moore of the Dither Guitar Quartet. We’ll find out how James made it from the San Francisco Bay Area to the new music scene here in New York. He’ll tell us about the strange playing techniques he uses on his recent album of solo guitar music by John Zorn, and we’ll hear an exclusive rendition of a Chet Atkins ballad.
Dither is an electric guitar quartet that includes James, Taylor Levine, Joshua Lopes, and Gyan Riley. They specialize in an experimental mix of “composed music, improvisation, and electronic manipulation.” They’ve performed across the United States and overseas since forming in 2007, and produce a yearly festival of music and art called Extravaganza!.
As a multi-instrumentalist and composer, James juggles a number of musical projects aside from Dither, such as The Hands Free, an acoustic quartet, and a rock band called Forever House. He recently put out another album of violin and steel-string resonator guitar called Gertrudes, with Andie Springer. The pair formed their duo when they were on tour with playwright Richard Maxwell’s “Neutral Hero”.
The CD for James’ version of the guitar etudes by John Zorn called “Book of Heads” includes a film featuring the crazy techniques involved in the making of the album. Here’s a sample of what you’ll see on the DVD:
On this episode of Strings and Things, Angela Babin drops by to work on a Melody Maker that hasn’t been out and about in years, while our host Patrick Grant restrings his studio-weary Les Paul. They’ll swap stories about the weirdest gigs they’ve played in New York City, and talk about how numbers and math inspire Angela’s current compositions. Then they’ll amp up for a special Strings and Things duet.
Since picking up the electric guitar at 14 years old, over the years Angela’s performed in a wide range of venues, from Folk City and CBGBs, to BAM and the Berlin Jazz Festival. She entered the downtown New York music scene with the band Off Beach, and played guitar in the nine-piece experimental rock group The Ordinaires. The Ordinaires were compared to Philip Glass, Captain Beefheart, Henry Mancini, Husker Du and Stravinsky – all at the same time! You may remember their cover of “Kashmir” was all over MTV at the time: