Various Spectra: Guitar in the 21st Century

Want to hear what the guitar's up to these days? A collection of diverse pieces by guitarists from around the world, Spectra provides an insightful look into alternative sonic and performance potentials of the guitar. Tetuzi Akiyama opens with three minimalist acoustic pieces, entrancing through their quietist poise, koan-like harmonic ambiguity and economy of gesture. The collaboration of Sebastien Roux and Kim Myhr, "Six" extracts gamelan-ish sonorities with non-metrical looping, all to intriguing effect. One highlight of the eight-track disc comes from one of its curators; Mike Vernusky's "Nylah" creates long drones shimmering with evanescent overtones, reminiscent of a tambura bathed in deep reverb. "Fermion," by co-curator Cory Allen, is suffused in recurring washes of what sounds like time-stretched vinyl record surface noise — hypnotic. From Turkey's Erdem Helvacioglu, "The End of the World" forms out of acoustic guitar motifs against background clouds of long electronic sounds. Spectra is well worth checking out. (Quiet Design)