Sep 012010

The latest piece to emerge from the Ars Perspicuus studio is the result of a personal challenge: viz., to create a work featuring an instrument with which I was almost wholly unfamiliar, and which is featured primarily in music with which I don’t generally recreate.

Challenge met, I’m quite happy with the results:

Alan Blattberg, ''Low Plains Drifter''

The piece, Low Plains Drifter, features the incomparable — as gorgeous as it is complex — Wavelore Pedal Steel Guitar.

Creating this song required the crossing of three musical bridges:

First, I had to familiarize myself with the mechanics; of playing both the actual instrument and its MIDI implementation, so that I could become reasonably well-versed in both the broad strokes and nuances of this hemidemisemifamiliar instrument’s musical vocabulary.

Next, I had to become better acquainted with the ways in which the pedal steel’s vocabulary is expressed by its more learned practitioners.

It became apparent, rather quickly, that I had much to learn on both of these fronts. I will address the traversing of each of these bridges in subsequent posts.

Finally, I had to incorporate the instrument into a more personal — and thus, perhaps, less intuitive — musical environment… to “make it my own.”

The end result? Not quite yer old man’s (or anyone’s) “country”… Dark strings, electronic drones, ghostly piano… What you might hear if Flying Saucer Attack and Wilco co-scored a David Lynch western…

 Posted by at 11:52 pm

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