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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Composition 101

I'm a big fan of acoustic guitar composition. The current Audio Snack is a slice of excellence in the tradition of Gastr del Sol (and Jim O'Rourke's subsequent solo work) and Bill Frisell. Idyll Swords combine frenetic bluegrass and middle-eastern fingerpicking with folksy slides and a marriage of jazz and neoclassical sensibilities. When I listen to their track Steep Creek, I try to separate the two guitars in my ears and see how they compliment each other. A more accomplished musician would probably find it less compelling, but I sit in complete awe as I try to imagine composing such a track. There are times when one of the guitars is playing a simple background chord progression, but other times when both guitars seem to soar upwards in an increasingly complex double helix of complimentary melody. It's almost religious.

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