From time to time we all have a little epiphany where we understand something a little better than before. Then because we have a unique view to the world that is directly our own we are able to translate that epiphany into something that becomes a step different from many other people in the world. In art and music it’s those little steps that bring recognition. Sometimes it brings global, often times regional, and even more likely local.
My recent epiphany had to do with studio sound. Thus why I’ve been in the midst of tailoring my studio to the next state of sound capability it will be. I’ve finally figured out the best way to create some very ghetto sound diffusers, yet make them look really pro. Tomorrow I get the first shipment of bass trapping material. So I’ll hopefully have some of it in place by this weekend. I’m excited.
Once I get this project done, I’ll begin to carry on with finishing what has now turned into 50 songs and all their preproduction demoing. However, as I’ve been unwinding from doing some hands on labor for the studio (I like to feel like I helped make the room I work in, bring more satisfaction that way), I’ve been cruising StumbleUpon. I know I mentioned it the other day. Well, today represents another video I saw that yields some really relaxing music. The kicker is, you kinda have to see it to understand why it’s unique.
In an of itself the music is good. It’s not commercial by any stretch of the imagination. In fact it’s kinda similar to Andy McKee. The difference is how the two approach their instruments. Andy plays guitar in a traditional fashion. Erik Mongrain on the other hand plays it with the guitar sitting in his lap. Mind you, this isn’t anything new. In fact lap-steel guitars could be a long time precursor. However, I know I’ve goofed around with a guitar laying in my lap. I’ve seen other guitarists do it too. What is unique is how Erik took goofing off to a whole new level and made some serious music out of it.
The vast majority of what he’s doing is called tapping (for all you non-guitar playing folk). It’s a technique where you ‘hammer’ on the strings to create the movement. Occasionally doing a modified flamenco strum for effect and lots and lots of harmonics. Created when you tap a string in certain spots to create a more bell like sound out of the string. It’s sorta like playing the guitar as if it were a hammer dulcimer, but with the fingers as the hammers. He’s in an alternate tuning and making use of what I’d call some Joe Satriani tapping ideas (using multiple fingers to tap in rhythm to create chord figures or chord arpeggios).
It’s quite something to watch. Erik also makes lessons available on his website so that you can get an idea of how he creates his vibe. I recommend it, highly. Go get the music while you’re at it!