BIG|BRAVE GUITARIST MAT BALL TO RELEASE DEBUT SOLO RECORD
AMPLIFIED GUITAR ARRIVES ON THE 1ST JULY VIA THE GARROTE
Mat Ball (BIG | BRAVE) announces his first full-length solo album, Amplified Guitar, arriving on The Garrote on 1st July on all formats. The record will be available via Evil Greed in Europe.
Recorded at Hotel2Tango by Godspeed’s E
Additionally, Mat Ball shall release a book, Accidents (with orders via www.thegarrote.com and Bandcamp). Operating as a visual analog to the Amplified Guitar LP, the work in Mat Ball’s book Accidents is also based on chance: chance in discovery, chance in process, or chance in accidental results. Whether found at rest and documented in that natural/untouched state, or assembled/touched by Ball’s hand, the aleatoric element in each piece is vital. First edition limited to 100 copies.
Photo Credit: Stacy Lee
The acoustic phenomenon of feedback is often taken for granted. But feedback is pretty remarkable, essentially self-generating, potentially endless, and––though unwieldy––possible to control. As Montreal guitarist Mat Ball demonstrates, it is even possible to use feedback in the service of something elegant and soulful.
Plenty of bands have of course added to the collective hum and howl, from household names in rock and roll to mavens of the experimental underground like SUNNO))) and Earth. And since 2012, Mat Ball’s band BIG | BRAVE has also captivated audiences with a refined balance of massive and fragile sounds, touring with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra and SUNNO))), collaborating with The Body, and releasing records on Southern Lord and Thrill Jockey.
Amplified Guitar is Ball’s first full-length solo recording. And though it isn’t comprised entirely of feedback, it’s helpful to think about it in these terms. While listeners can enjoy Amplified Guitar at any volume, Ball was most assuredly turned way up when performing these pieces––each recorded in only one single take, live and unadorned, at Hotel2Tango in Montreal by Godspeed’s Efrim Manuel Menuck. Far from being a noise record, Amplified Guitar is an entirely musical and beautiful work and Ball’s use of amplified resonance and feedback often mimics the long gestures and sustained tones of bowed or woodwind instruments.
“I rely on amplification for amplitude, but I also rely on it to bring out certain harmonic qualities and voices of the instrument,” Ball says. The instrument in this case is not just any guitar, but an electric guitar which Ball built himself, in collaboration with Obscura MFG, only months before the recording. It is no wonder Ball is able to so effectively follow the contours of resonance, carving out melodies in a way that can only be called sculptural. The fact that Ball moonlights as a woodworker and that he carefully selected the wood from which to carve the guitar’s body is significant.
Across the eight pieces that make up Amplified Guitar, Ball presents cascading tones in strokes: struck, strummed, and occasionally bowed guitar shifting overtones amid the frankly melodic wail of the amplifier, all utterly in step. For this, the guitar is turned this way and that, slowly, while the hands are turning otherwise. It is a sort of dance enacted by Ball, his guitar, and a combination of amplifiers. The result is somehow both sonically towering and stunningly intimate, physical. Each piece, executed in one take, has the sense of being an act as much as a song, however melodic these acts are.
Amplified Guitar’s complexity-carved-from-
Amplified Guitar album cover by Stacy Lee
AMPLIFIED GUITAR TRACKLISTING
1 – TO CATCH LIGHT I
2 – WITHIN THE BILLOW I
3 – STEEL WOUND ARTERIES I
4 – TO CATCH LIGHT II
5 – STEEL WOUND ARTERIES II
6 – WITHIN THE BILLOW II
7 – TO CATCH LIGHT III
8 – WITHIN THE BILLOW III
Amplified Guitar LP teaser video