Oct 24, 2016 l By Ablx Staff
Michael Vick may be best known as the founder of the NYC International Fretless Guitar Festival, but he also has a larger role in bringing the fretless guitar into the mainstream.
Vick says, I feel with acoustic fretless guitar one can get the purity of tone and intonation that has been missing from most guitar literature, and on the flipside, the electric fretless guitar can project the artist and listener completely into outer space where no absolute rules apply. They both can present the player with more sonic possibilities ever imagined, and through this they are tied inherently to the past and the future in a sonic continuum.
Not only has he broken free of the 12 tone Western system, he has long been an advocate of found music, using ordinary objects, and even machines, to create music that fits into his infinitely pitched worldview.
Michael aTonal Vick returns, this time as VVV in his new release Sound As Music Presents: Pronounced Triple-V (VVV) w/ special guests MonoNeon (Prince), Johnny Reinhard (Haas), Brad Catler (La Monte Young), Ryan Shah (TimeSpy), Geoff 'G5' Cormier (The Archetypes), Todd Campbell (Joe Bonamassa), Siddharth Chaudhuri (TimeSpy), Slang (April Wine) & Scott Hilton (Wit’s End).
Most of this recording features just Vick playing all instruments (and many found objects) to create a unique sonic palette. Theremin-like sonic sweeps mix with mechanical, avant garde noises and fretless guitars to produce some challenging music. After all, according to Vick, all sound is music, and he has created something very unique here.
Shades of experimental Sun Ra, wacky Zappa, and explosive Fiuczynski abound. Eastern melodies, like those displayed by sarod masters, can be heard alongside both spoken-word and sung vocals. The fretless nature of the strings can lend a bottleneck-like slide guitar sound when he chooses. Some percussive (often raking) sounds create an ambient aural soundscape that, when matched with the notes from the instruments, is quite trippy, for lack of a better term.
This is heady stuff, although more aggressive stereo imaging could have made it all the more fun. The guests are utilized carefully so as not to distract from Vick's vision. There are a few tracks that were recorded live in front of an audience that mesh well with the studio overdubbed pieces. Don't expect to hear a killing chop-fueled rhythm section; do expect to be treated to an auditory mashup of playful-yet-serious, experimental goodness.