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February 22, 2008 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Improvisations on modified banjo and guitar by Paul Metzger. Please click through to his videos first, then to his recordings. His use of java means that I can't link directly to them.

Metzger's also with TVBC, but for some reason, none of their flash-based links work on my computer, which is a shame, because they're pretty good.
posted by klangklangston (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Watching the first vid now. If Edie Brickell inhaled a box of nails and did a little skat session, she would sound just like that guitar-jo thing. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

Also, this guy is really stoned.
posted by LordSludge at 12:13 PM on February 22, 2008


I like it, but it makes me think: I've spent hours noodling with down-tuned acoustic guitars, banjoes, borrowed cello bows, and some of the results sounded much like this. How come this guy gets all the sweet bookstore gigs?
posted by not_on_display at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2008


While watching the videos, all I could think was "When will this guy ever finish warming up?"
posted by acetonic at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been digging Metzger lately. I'd seen them already, but thanks for the post.
posted by OmieWise at 12:28 PM on February 22, 2008


Ahhhh, Deliverance. For once a critic could say something is "raga-like" and it would actually make sense.

What'd you think, klang?
posted by hototogisu at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2008


I liked 'em, but I've been listening to a lot of Six Organs of Admittance lately.
posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on February 22, 2008


He did a split with Chasny, I think.
posted by OmieWise at 12:56 PM on February 22, 2008


It was Chasny/Corsano on one side and Metzger on the other, I think. It's been a while since I listened to it.

Chasny's in-store at Aquarius Records was really something else...
posted by hototogisu at 1:09 PM on February 22, 2008


Call me when he gets near a tune.
posted by nola at 2:42 PM on February 22, 2008


I really like a lot of what Metzger's doing. First discovered him a few months ago, stumbling upon his MySpace page (be sure to check out "Orans Excerpt" on his player there). He also showed up in this banjo thread just a little while back. As it happens, I sent him a MySpace message when that thread was underway, to let him know he'd been linked to on MeFi. He replied, after reading that somewhat contentious thread: "wow - i had no idea that the banjo could get folks riled up like that!" Heh heh!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:07 PM on February 22, 2008


God, I stayed out of that thread because Bela Fleck just bores me to tears—and I've seen him live (in Nashville, no less). The same guys who were really into him were really into Tower of Power, another band that kinda is OK at best despite being wildly proficient with their instruments.
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 PM on February 22, 2008


It sounds to me as if he's trying to recreate the alap part of a raga, the slow part, prior to the more percussive, rhythmic jhala. It also sounds like the instrument he's created is something like an Americanized version of the Indian instrument, sarod.

The alap is "an introductory slow movement in raga, free of rhythm; it elaborates the musical ideas on the melodic scale. a slow improvisation, invocation, sets the character of the raga."

Sarod by Amjad Ali Khan l Alam Khan Playing the Sarod
posted by nickyskye at 6:42 PM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nickyskye: he has a few minutes of introduction that he plays with a bow on the last track on his new album, and it sounds very much like a sarangi.

Did anyone here listen to Music for the Bluegrass States by Keenan Lawler? I've been going back to that one a lot lately...
posted by hototogisu at 7:26 PM on February 22, 2008


Did anyone here listen to Music for the Bluegrass States by Keenan Lawler?

Ah yes, Keenan Lawler! Most appropriate, I think, that you should mention him in this thread. Here's his MySpace.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:17 PM on February 22, 2008


Also, this guy is really stoned.

Nope.

Call me when he gets near a tune.

Last time I saw him, he played a piece on a modified guitar that didn't so much have a tune as it did a plot. A very suspenseful plot with an unhappy ending.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:20 PM on February 22, 2008


Why is it when some kid in a music store grabs a banjo off the wall and starts plucking uncontrollably unmusical random notes, he gets hit upside the head by his dad, but when this guy does it, he inspires navel-gazing and money-throwing?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:29 AM on February 23, 2008


...uncontrollably unmusical random notes...

Musical is in the ear of the behearer, my friend. And if Metzger's stuff strikes you as unmusical, you'd be advised to consider that it might be because your ears and musical sensibilities are not developed enough to recognize it as musical. You might not admit to this, but that don't mean it ain't so.

...he inspires navel-gazing and money-throwing...

I don't think yoiu know what the term "navel-gazing" actually means. And "money-throwing"? I don't reckon there's a whole helluva lotta people throwing money at Paul Metzger. Anyway, surely not as many people as his music deserves.

You don't really know what you are talking about. But go right ahead spewing that ignorant nonsense if it makes you feel better.

...he gets hit upside the head by his dad...

Yeah, well, his dad might be fuckin' ignorant too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:48 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


you'd be advised to consider that it might be because your ears and musical sensibilities are not developed enough to recognize it as musical

Ah, yes, the familiar rejoinder of artistic hacks without merit worldwide: "You're not sophisticated enough to get it." Please, spare me. I could list my avant-garde credentials in an attempt to persuade you otherwise, but really, it's a pointless endeavor to spend any more time with this mental tripe. If music is "in the ear of the beholder" as you so flippantly claim, who are you to judge another's opinion as unsophisticated in the first place, particularly when you know nothing about me, my education, or my musical abilities? Do you not see a fundamental contradiction? No, the mere fact that I think this guy sucks, hard is enough to discredit my musical palate? How enlightened and developed of you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:22 AM on February 23, 2008


TVBC rocked my little world when I saw them live as a teenager in the 1980s. The drones, the crazy tunings, the danelectro that he would get all sorts of skronk-y sounds (until he broke it and the show had to end). My friends and I holed up in the garage and tried our best to figure out what he was up to, approximating it in DADDAD and CGCGCE with lots of raised fourths to make the scale sound exotic.

A few years later, when we saw them again, it wasn't as earthshattering--but at that one show, I was totally in awe. I still have a live record of them tucked away somewhere. Each cover was hand done with spray paint and potato prints. The spray paint came off everywhere.
posted by umbú at 11:08 AM on February 23, 2008



Why is it when some kid in a music store grabs a banjo off the wall and starts plucking uncontrollably unmusical random notes, he gets hit upside the head by his dad...?

BECAUSE NO SON OF MINE IS GOING TO PLAY THAT BASTARD INSTRUMENT! You know who plays the banjo, kid? GYPSIES AND RETARDS! You're going to get a GUITAR and you are going to learn to play FREE BIRD and you're going to like it!
posted by louche mustachio at 12:19 PM on February 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not a big fan. I'd rather listen to an alap itself, or on the more melodic side, Dark Was The Night...
posted by StrikeTheViol at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2008


No, the mere fact that I think this guy sucks, hard is enough to discredit my musical palate...

You are more than entitled to your own opinion regarding this or any other musician. You don't like Metzger's stuff, it doesn't move you, it doesn't speak to you. No problem. But the tone and substance of your first comment was one of derision toward people who do like his music. You know, us "navel gazers" and "money throwers". And your implying that people who play like Metzger really only deserve a whack upside the head from some dad.

And this has nothing to do with your "avant garde credentials". For all I know you listen to 4'33" 23 hours a day and pure sine tones in that other hour. Of course I wouldn't know what your predilections are, and I don't particularly care. But your comment was a big "fuck you" to folks who like this guy's stuff. I wasn't judging your opinion, I was judging how your comment served to ridicule anyone who would hold an opinion opposite your own.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 PM on February 23, 2008


This guy could have saved himself a lot of trouble, and some MeFites a lot of needless fretting, if he had just gone to a music store in New Delhi.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:07 PM on February 23, 2008


and some MeFites a lot of needless fretting...

Actually, it's the guy playing the banjo that's doing the fretting!

*rim shot*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:08 PM on February 23, 2008


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