Music Notes


Pop music at the end of the millennium seems to pose a challenge to the once-essential guitar: You can either get Neil Young-primitive like most indie rock, go "retro" in some classic rock or jazz mode, or you can chuck the guitar altogether for electronics. Is the guitar dead?

The six axmen playing Friday and Saturday at Inter-media Arts (no, not Golden Smog; they're next weekend at First Ave.) would surely answer no. Intermedia's "You're My Guitar Hero: New Works For Avant Garde Guitar" promises frontier-spanning sounds, a truckload of weird gear, and several new ways to think about the six- (or however many) string thing. Acclaimed headliner Henry Gwiazda and local trickster Satoshi Shinozaki, for example, explore ways of using their guitars to trigger samplers. Gwiazda is a North Dakotan who curator Chris Strouth calls "the Charles Ives of the guitar;" he utilizes 3D audio techniques and familiar found sounds to tell vivid musical stories. By contrast, Shinozaki is a pure improv player with a punk/free-jazz backbone. Shinozaki (a veteran of Exploding Head Trick, Tribo and Tin Drum) can move seamlessly from ambience to noisy grooves to thrash,
giving new meaning to the term "sliding scale."

Next down on the "Guitar Hero" bill is Mike Croswell of avant-jazz group Metaphor. Croswell, who also composes for local theater, is forming a duo called Chromedome-- a mixture of avant-garde jazz with the trance-inducing electronica of acts such as The Orb and Flying Saucer Attack. Croswell's preceded by Dave Foley, that madman of punk-cum-R&B collective Things That Fall Down; his solo stuff runs along the lines of guttural, mechanistic noise with samples and tape loops; for this weekend's shows, he'll be testing (and no doubt extending) the full capabilities of that down-home staple, the lap steel.

To warm things up for these evenings of cacophony, trance, and decidedly uneasy listening, "You're My Guitar Hero" will commence both nights with two familiar faces from the club scene: groove-heavy session player/Nun's Honey bassist Jim Anton; and Paul Horn, the ambient-noise specialist from the waterfall of effects that is Shapeshifter. If the work of these musicians is any indication, the guitar is far from dead; after all, it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the instrument.

"You're My Guitar Hero," featuring Henry Gwiazda, Satoshi Shinozaki, Mike Croswell, Dave Foley, Jim Anton and, Paul Horn runs at Intermedia Arts (2822 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.) Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. $8. Call 871-4444. (Simon Peter Groebner)


So you've got a band and a great new recording, and you want to self-release a CD. Sounds like a fine plan-- if you do it right.Toward that end, you might want to check out the workshop "Releasing Your Own CD," which is being held tonight (Wednesday) by Resources and Counseling for the Arts along with the Minnesota Music Academy and the Minnesota Association of Songwriters. The local-biz symposium, featuring Noiseland's Andrew Volna, Best Buy's Gary Wisner, Electric Fetus's Joe Steinger, Terry Katzman from Garage D'Or and Rev-105 jock Brian Oake, will cover issues of manufacturing, distribution, press/radio and more. As we know, the CD format has become little more than a spruced-up demo tape these days. But if you've put the proper care into your recording, you may be ready for the next step. The RCA workshop takes place tonight at 8 p.m.; the class fee in $20 ($15 for MMA/MAS members); call 292-4381 to register. . . (Groebner)

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