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Endangered Guitar Processing

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Album Review

One step further for Hans Tammen, clearly one of the best experimental guitarists to come forward during the 1990s. It's not that he brings with him a revolutionary technique or tool. Other musicians have worked with pins, styrofoam, steel wool, E-bows, and computers, but Tammen manages to transcend the means so that only the results matter. Endangered Guitar Processing is a 3" CD that completes or updates his previous release on the German label NURNICHTNUR (Endangered Guitar, 1998). What is new here is the computer. Tammen processes his guitar sound in real time with the use of Cycling 74's Max/MSP software. This shift to the machine could worry the fans who see the laptop computer as a drastic and yet cliché-ridden change in free improvisation, but the fact is that the guitarist's music has not changed much. The computer expands his sound palette even further, but it works seamlessly, never relegating his technique and improv sense to the background. Actually, these two pieces, recorded live during a short tour of France in June 2001, are simply stunning and rich in details. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Hans Tammen calls his style of performance "endangered guitar," presumably because of the extreme alterations he enacts upon his instrument's sound and construction. Tammen "prepares" his guitar in much the same sense that John Cage prepared the piano; he also processes and manipulates his live sound through a computer system that's based on Cycling 74's Max/MSP program. Tammen was given his first guitar by his grandfather at age 15 — an old instrument that had been lying in a basement. Influenced...
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Endangered Guitar Processing, Hans Tammen
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