Posts Tagged ‘Pink Floyd’

Echo Location: Sumner McKane’s Ambient Americana

October 1, 2008
Sumner McKane

Sumner McKane

It’s been several years now that guitarist Sumner McKane has been releasing albums of evocative soundscapes dipped in Americana as cinematic as a John Ford western and as nuanced as Andrew Wyeth painting. But this isn’t pastoral nostalgia. His landscapes are tinged in ambient atmospheres and pulled by an undertow of psychedelia that makes it some of the most unassumingly mind-bending music of the decade.

(You can hear an Audio Version of this Blog with Music)

Sumner McKane has played extensively in country bands, but while his music often has a country twang, you’d never mistake if for something out of Nashville.

Sumner McKane: With my stuff I don’t think of it as, as country sound, I think of more of a western sound. You know, there’s not a big difference but just the big reverby baritonekind of guitar sound, the spaghetti western stuff, so I think that for me is, I always try and fit that in somewhere just because I love that sound.

On his latest album, What A Great Place to Be, Sumner plays everything, drums, bass, computer, but his main instrument is guitar. Although he has played in country bands, you can hear echoes of San Francisco psychedelic guitar and shades of Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour in his playing.

Sumner McKane: Just take the reverb and put in on 10.
Drummer Jeff Glidden: This is a reverb friendly zone.
Sumner McKane: Yeah, a little delay, a little reverb and, and 17 guitar tracks will get you there.

Sumner McKane - What A Great Place to Be

Sumner McKane - What A Great Place to Be

Most of Sumner McKane’s What a Great Place to Be was birthed at the same time he brought his two daughters into the world. No doubt their presence impacted the serene nature of the album,
but Sumner’s music has always had a nostalgic quality. His CD covers are usually home snapshots and landscapes from Maine, and his titles harken back to his like “After the Fireworks We Walked to the Rope Swing.”  That’s a long and unwieldy title,  yet the music is anything but.

Sumner McKane’s new album is What A Great Place to Be and it makes you feel exactly that wherever you’re listening. It’s like the gentlest acid dream in a sun-drenched meadow and it’s our Echoes CD of the Month for October. I’ll feature it on Echoes this Monday, October 6th. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for new music.

(You can hear an Audio Version of this Blog with Music)

John Diliberto ((( Echoes )))

The Ping of Echoes Passes: Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright Dies

September 15, 2008

Echoes the radio show owes its name to Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” and that song’s signature sound was the opening sonar pings of Floyd keyboardist, Richard Wright.  He died today, September 15 at the age of 65, reportedly after a losing bout with cancer.  The BBC has one of the earliest obituaries. 

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Wright was an original member of Pink Floyd. Although he got aced-out into a supporting role after the departure of Roger Waters and the reformation of the band, his organ was a defining sound of Pink Floyd from the stuttering Leslie-spun organ intro to “Astronomy Domine” to the crazed psychedelic calliope of “See Emily Play.”   Wish You Were HereWish You Were Here was as much a Richard Wright showpiece as a paean to Syd BarrettUmmagummaA musician who had listened to blues as much as  Edgar Varese and Cecil Taylor, (Listen to “Sysyphus” on Umma Gumma)  Wright was usually an understated player, building up a sonic architecture around Floyd’s excursions instead of engaging in flashy keyboard solos.

Richard Wright, a relatively unacknowledged source at the core of much of the music you hear on Echoes.  His echoes at least, will continue to reverberate.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Tangled up in Strings-California Guitar Trio & David Pritchard

July 10, 2008

The California Guitar Trio and David Pritchard are acoustic fingerstyle players who aren’t taking the lonley solo route. 

You can also hear an Audio version of this Echo Location, with music.

If you think one acoustic guitar is good, there are some musicians who think 2, 3 or 4 is even better. The California Guitar Trio has embraced this concept. As the name suggests, there are three of them, Paul Richards, Bert Lams and Hideyo Moriya, but despite the name, none of them live in California. They’re graduates of Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists and for seventeen years they’ve been making music that sounds like one musician, with 30 fingers. Their new album is a CD of cover tunes called Echoes. Echoes

They cover Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Lynard Skynard‘s “Freebird” (probably in response to smart-assed requests from the audience), and something from a guy named Ludwig Van Beethoven.
CGT write some beautiful original tunes, but they’ve always done a lot of covers in their music, creating unlikely adaptations like this for their 3 guitars. They expand a little bit with a few other musicians and really stand out on remakes of Pink Floyd‘s “Echoes” and Mike Oldfield‘s “Tubular Bells.”
CGT haven’t been acoustic purists for a while. They amp up their acoustics so they sound like
electrics at times and aren’t wary of using some electronic processing and a few other musicians to obtain the sound they want.
Unlike the California Guitar Trio, David Pritchard actually lives in the Golden State. He started doing the multiple guitar thing just before CGT in 1990 with his album, Air Patterns. Air Patterns Sometimes he plays one guitar. Sometimes he plays five. He’s a jazz guitarist with classical chops composing a lush minimalist music for multiple guitar players, although sometimes they are all named David Pritchard.

On the title track to his new album, Vertical Eden, he overdubs himself playing 5 acoustic guitars. But he brings in four other guitarists when he plays live. Like the California Guitar Trio, he’s expanded his palette on CD with other musicians, but multiple guitars, contrapuntal arrangements and what Guitar Player magazine once called “arpeggios from hell,” remain the cornerstone of his music.
You can get tangled up in strings with David Pritchard’s Vertical Eden and the California Guitar Trio’s Echoes.

You can also hear an Audio version of this Echo Location, soundings for new music.

John Diliberto July, 2008

%d bloggers like this: