Mat Ball - Amplified Guitar Music Album Reviews

Mat Ball - Amplified Guitar Music Album Reviews
Working with a homemade instrument and utilizing unconventional techniques, the Montreal musician carves vast, expansive forms out of guitar feedback.

In the trailer for his debut solo record, Amplified Guitar, Mat Ball holds the head of his guitar up against an amplifier as he picks a melancholy tune. The sound that emerges is guttural: A mighty buzz swarms up and creates a cloud around every pluck of the strings. At another point, the Montreal-based musician places his instrument’s head perpendicular to the floor, dragging it across the ground to make the sound wobble. He uses these techniques as ways of shaping the feedback from sustained guitar tones as it grows and changes.

Featuring a series of eight spun-out vignettes, each recorded in a single take, Amplified Guitar explores the noisier side of the electric guitar. The sound isn’t entirely new for Ball, whose band BIG|BRAVE has been carving mammoth textures out of feedback since their formation in 2012. But here, he plays an instrument he built himself—he’s a woodworker as well as a musician—with the aim to maximize both lightness and density. While Ball’s work emphasizes cavernous textures, it is minimalist at heart: He crafts dense lattices from short phrases by looping simple melodies or letting held tones resonate and gradually fade out. As much as Amplified Guitar revolves around blown-out drones, its intrigue lies in miniature details—the way the guitar scrapes along an amplifier, creating a sharp pang, or the way a melody can be deconstructed and pieced back together.

The album’s overarching structure accommodates its blossoming effect. The first three tracks lay out three different sounds—the looping tune of “To Catch Light I,” the haunted fuzz of “Within the Billow I,” and the chaotic pulse of “Steel Wound Arteries I”—that Ball returns to and transforms later on. On “Within the Billow II,” for example, the original track’s eerie textures spin out into high-pitched rings and forceful strikes, a pummeling sound that gradually simmers down into barely there bass pulses. While pieces of the original song remain, Ball tweaks the elements around it, building a new house from the same parts.

Each track offers a different palette to explore, and the “To Catch Light” trilogy proves Ball’s most successful experiment, thanks to its clear narrative arc. These tracks radiate from a forlorn blues melody that Ball blurs with plumes of feedback-induced haze. Each time the song returns, it’s subtly changed: Where “To Catch Light I” feels direct and dejected, “To Catch Light II” is a little murkier until it shatters into a vigorous, colorful final blow. That point feels like a pinnacle, a moment where all of Ball’s simmering ideas have finally boiled over; by the time “To Catch Light III” picks up the pieces, that original melody emerges with a new radiance.

The nuances of Ball’s slowly unfolding songs are what make Amplified Guitar so compelling. Many musicians have explored guitar feedback and drones, but Ball emphasizes the process of building and rebuilding masses of sound from the same small phrases, stacking slight changes into towering structures. Underneath all the distortion lie intricately woven patterns, hidden worlds that reveal themselves more with each listen.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Mat Ball - Amplified Guitar Music Album Reviews Mat Ball - Amplified Guitar Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 15, 2022 Rating: 5


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