Mar Del Plata





Dann Chinn
Avant Issue No.3


GP Hall knows that contemporary guitar is about more than just wood, wire
and amplification: that it's about total sound. "Mar-Del-Plata"' is the junction
where Robert Fripp crosses paths with Derek Bailey, the place where John
Cage hires David Torn, and where Thurstan Moore deconstructs Vaughan Williams;
or sometimes just a secluded bay where Paco Pena lets a Secret coiling breeze
fold and sculpt his playing into something new and unearthly.

Over three decades of playing, this criminally - ignored British guitarist has
been painting detailed musical vistas for the imagination.

Hear him. In one hand, a collection of familiar guitar stills (British art-blues,
world flamenco, classical, free jazz). In the other, a batch of implements (battery 
razors and fans, strips of Velcro, springs, bows, metal tubes, toy cars) used
to tickle reluctant strings into speaking in new found voices.

Feet pumping pedals that wash the sounds across the sky.
Senses drawing on vivid memories and synaesthesic leaps.

Heart bleeding-in the human element that divides sound from noise, knowing
that all this needs to touch those who listen. Head somewhere else,
pulling all this together with thoughtful melody or beautiful chaos.

What emerges is music that tugs at the spirit, the way that weather tugs
at the air that enfolds us.
Plangent global sense-music; alive; sometimes graced with pianos, violins,
percussives, maltreated autoharps... but, whether ensemble or solo, centred
on the sonic universe which - with the right imagination, you can call out of a
guitar.

The celestially hanging, heartbreaking, calling notes of 
'Spirit Sky Montana' (Aaron Copland out gliding in the stratosphere).

The lush breathing tones of 'Humidity Despair'.

The abrasive tonescapes of 'Fahrenheit 451'.

The tangy acoustic glitter of 'Ionian Water'.

The eerie, warping, Star Gate colour sculpting of 'Charmouth Beach'.

Intricate expressionistic, explosive musical pictures of failed social
experiments ('The Estates') or scrambling over post-apocalyptic human
wreckage ('Plutonium Alert'). 

The poignant, painted beauty of 'Sorrow' and 'Paths Of The Lonely' with
their gut-strung, gut-feeling guitars singing over cloudy stews of sound and lambent,
misty backings.

It's a six-string kaleidoscope. 
Air turned into light.
An orchestra in an amplifier and a drawerful of oddments.
It's all this and more.


o