april 2014

This luthier duo from Finland draws inspiration from their homeland and offers a wide range of instruments with both a “classic” and “extreme” line.

Halla
The solidbody Halla model is part of Amfisound’s classic line of guitars and this particular example that’s finished in a high-gloss red has an alder body with a flamed maple top, and a bolt-on maple neck that’s dressed with a rosewood fretboard. Hardware appointments include Hipshot locking tuners, a Bigsby and TonePros Nashville-style bridge, and Amfisound non-slip potentiometer knobs. For electronics, this regal-looking axe has a pair of TV Jones Classics.

Finnish luthiers Tomi Korkalainen and Sampo Leppävuori met in 1997 at the Ikaalinen College of Crafts and Design where they were both students in the guitar-making department. And though they came from different parts of the country—along with completely different personalities and tastes in music—they quickly found they had a lot in common and became close friends. One of those commonalities was a huge respect and love for nature and the “North.” Another was a shared belief that music is more than just sound—there’s something deeply emotional and personal about it. “These are things that we have always applied to our guitar building,” says Korkalainen.

After finishing their initial studies in 2001, the two founded Amfisound Guitars in 2002 and decided to base their shop in Oulu, in Northern Finland, “because our Northern roots and attitude are very important for us. A lot of things about Finland are pretty extreme: the climate, the nature, the history, the people, the music, etc. But there is also a deep sense of tradition and that deep love for nature. Our guitars often impart these feelings,” shares Korkalainen. “In fact, the name for each of our models refers to something Finnish or Northern that is deeply meaningful to us.”

Read More Show less

The former Red Hot Chili Pepper opens up about his under-the-radar musical journey, why he traded his Strat for a Yamaha SG2000, and achieving artistic freedom via electronica.

There’s a battle being waged in John Frusciante’s mind. In his musical world of juxtapositions and genre marriages, the traditional spars with the far-out, and mathematical equations somehow compute into expressions of feeling. The guitar will always be a bedrock instrument for the former Red Hot Chili Pepper, but his new weapons of choice are machines. “The Roland MC-202 [an early-’80s synthesizer/sequencer] is one of my favorite instruments,” he says. “The same goes for drum machines, samplers, the computer, and other synthesizers.”

For Frusciante, the main appeal of these instruments is that once you learn to manipulate them, you can produce all types of instrumental sounds instantly. Frusciante actually has six MC-202s, which he uses in various combinations to translate guitar parts into synthesized parts. With multiple machines, he can manipulate a single guitar string per machine, and then endlessly refine each string’s sound.

Read More Show less

TWOD’s latest is a heart-rending little ride marking a brilliant texturalist emerging as a master songsmith.

Album

The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream
Secretly Canadian

The music of Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs almost universally invites references to expansive landscapes, big skies, and the open road. It would be easy to dismiss such a unified collective reaction as lazy journalists cribbing from the same press release. In reality, it’s a testament to WOD mastermind Adam Granduciel’s gift for crafting deeply evocative and vivid images from sound. Indeed, when taking in Lost in the Dream’s steady, streamlined rhythmic underpinnings, long-echo guitar lines, minor-key melodies, and Granduciel’s yearning loner voice, it’s almost impossible to not imagine interstate wanderers fleeing heartbreak and seeking salvation.

Granduciel honed this formula on his 2011 release Slave Ambient. But “Red Eyes,” the first single from Lost in the Dream might be Granduciel’s melancholy masterpiece (the title alone conjures pictures of tearful, desperate late nights far from home). Exultant, full of longing, and bristling with the tension of driving acoustics, drifting baritone sax, and weeping synth strings, it’s a heart-rending little ride—one of many on an LP that marks a brilliant texturalist emerging as a master songsmith.

Read More Show less
x