Monday, December 9, 2013

Will Graefe

ALOS (Al-ose)
During a two month tour in fall 2012, Will Graefe wrote nearly two albums of solo guitar music; equal parts catharsis, entertainment, and compulsion.
The logistics of touring often make rehearsal and composition difficult. But the un-amplified electric guitar is relatively portable and un-obtrusive- perhaps a perfect conduit for the creation of minimal, self-contained guitar pieces.

"On tours, I found myself playing constantly and usually alone; in sound-checks, in the back of the van, in hotel latrines (they have the best reverb), Chinese restaurants. When I was lucky I would find almost mantra-like melodies or sets of chords and play them over and over again until they developed naturally."

The various settings seemed to encourage an air of loneliness in the songs and a near complete lack of the pyrotechnics often displayed in guitar music. Instead, Graefe relied on melody, touch, and his own emotional responses to the musical elements at play.

"Some of the songs, like "Montrose, CO." later turned into more ornate, thematic pieces. But if I remember correctly, that song began with me eating a brownie in a motel in Colorado and moving two chords back and forth for several hours. It's important to feel those cadences physically."

A perfect example of this dedication to simplicity is the third track on Alos, "St. Ives, He Hides". The melody is presented with an almost unnerving amount of space, hiding dissonances and overtones in the cracks of the double tracked guitars. The patience of the composition pays off surprisingly with a four-chord repitition that builds emotional intensity without ever changing volume.

Other tracks, like "Special (1863)", feature a more freewheeling and joyous aggression that might draw comparisons to Marc Ribot or Bill Orcutt. But even at it's most dense, Alos never strays far from melody.

releases 10 December 2013
Will Graefe- Acoustic and Electric Guitars.
All additional sounds by Dan Arnes.

All songs by Will Graefe except,
"Solitude" by Ellington/Strayhorn.

Co-Produced by Will Graefe and Dan Arnes
MIxed by Dan Arnes at Big Snow Buffalo Lodge
Engineered by Elio DeLuca at the Soul Shoppe
Photo by Tom Graefe
Reverb by Gabe Birnbaum

Recorded at the Soul Shop in Medford, MA on March 10, 2013.

Composer/ Solo Guitar: Will Graefe
Visuals: Yuan Liu + Sohaila Adela
Director/ Camera: Yuan Liu
Editor/Color: Dominika Michalowska
Will Graefe- St. Ives, He Hides
Written by Will Graefe
Recorded by Elio DeLuca
Mixed and Mastered by Dan Arnes

Music by Will Graefe
Recorded by Elio DeLuca
Mixed and Mastered by Dan Arnes
Additional Sounds by Dan Arnes