When a Study Isn’t an Étude

A guitar pedal put through the motions

If you listen to experimental music in public, you might be familiar with being helpfully informed that what you’re listening to isn’t actually music. That approbation takes on a different meaning when it comes to another sort of listening, which is when musicians post rough initial takes of new equipment. Take “Tensor 1 02-18-2018,” which is a guitarist running through settings in a new effects pedal. The loping, sinuous tones are sent backwards and forwards, turned into dense guttural utterances and glitching broken figments along the way, but generally resting in a diffuse, reflective zone. The very shape of the depicted waveform makes it clear this isn’t a single work, but a collection of pieces, of attempts: it is broken into distinct segments, each with its own visibly evident start and end. Yet, while this isn’t even an étude, per se, it is an example of study, and there’s a pleasure to be taken in studying the study, to appreciating the sonic transformations afoot as the musician comes up to speed.

Listen to the track at soundcloud.com/roofhare. The audio is by Kees de Goot, based in Rhode Island. More at twitter.com/Groovehare.

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