While grandiose the title of this discrete compilation, in that it marks an area of guitar and sound endeavor at a specific time period assuming an overarching view of the global scene of guitar craftsmen, the claim remains to a degree true. There is also a truth in saying that a certain amount of positioning of what constitutes the frontier of sound in any given time period is an arena of contest and the claim is really to be taken as an assertion. After all the founders of Quiet Design, Cory Allen and Mike Vernusky who curate this compilation are represented and all representations demark their orientation towards sound: being an experimental act with the focal interest on high technical proficiency and the boundary of the possibilities of the device, albeit in a quiet manner.
Tetuzi Akiyama’ Three Small Pieces opens with time discretion extended, precise minimal guitar and attention to the longevity and tonality of decay demarking time, underpinning the melodic elements and highlighting the silence. Sebestian Roux & Kim Myhr focus on an interplay between electronic and acoustic with guitar and effect melded in and becoming indistinct with the severity of manipulation and oblique uses of the instrument. Mike Vernusky contributes Nylah, a wash of tonal distortions, dissonance, soundscaped ambience and manipulated sonic thrall. Cory Allen’ Fermion broods and builds its hum and elements into cyclic reverence throwing wave after wave of guitar precise static. Erdem Helvacioglu contributes the standout track of the compilation, both in the variety of its technical manipulation, experimentation, electronic elements without losing sight of the tradition of the instrument and his cultural location. It has the play of such a wide, full and glistening palate that it is both difficult listening and open simultaneously. Jandek’ The World stops is not only disturbing and alienating, even the strange “psychedelic lyrics’ he purports at best can be seen as gathering for the specific effect of distance and repulsion. It is a strange way to mark the end.
While the compilation may not hold to be a through catalogue of contemporary guitar it does present four of the America’ finest exponents of experimental guitar and brings a number of standouts from the world scene to form this compilation from Quiet Design.