Guitronic MP3

The natural applause that closes the recent MP3 up at William Fowler Collins‘ website,, signals that the recording is, indeed, of a live performance. Up until that moment, you may not be certain, though a cough midway through also gives it away. There is, so common these days yet still so strange, such an array of simultaneous sounds working in harmony that it’s initially difficult to recognize the music was made by one person: Collins, on electric guitar, with microcassette recorder and steel slide. It was taped at Mills College Concert Hall in April 2004 during the SignalFlow Festival, and it’s a through-improvised tour from cascading opening notes to echoed rages of noise to an arid territory of ringing near-silence, with hints of everything from Jimi Hendrix to Glenn Branca to Michael Brook. What’s remarkable isn’t the range, though, but how naturally the piece flows over the track’s five-plus minutes. Part of this is owed to that reverb, which allows one theme to repeat while another is introduced. But the real credit goes to the composer-performer, who charts the course and sticks to it, even when the going gets rough. The track is an excerpt from Collins’ Evening CDR (West Mountain Road Recordings, 2004). Get the file directly here.

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