At the end of last year one if the developers of the remarkable gestural synthesizer/controller/sampler Jesper Nordin invited me by email to be a featured artist on the new, redesigned Gestrument web site. I thought about it for half a nano-second and told Jesper,
Last week I learned who the other featured artists were, enabling me to figure out roughly how out of their league I was; and it is a fairly large amount out of the league of Jordan Rudess of Dream Theatre and techno master Richard Devine I be!
Today the web site was rolled out.
The Kamelmauz page features a three track video I made featuring Gestrument as sampler, Gestrument as controller, and Kamelmauz as pedal steel guitar cosmonaut. On my page are samples from Soundcloud and patches (presets) I designed. And, to my amazement the patches are also included in the new update of Gestrument.
The essay on the Kamelmauz page explains much, but I’ll add that I’ve been working with Gestrument for over a year, yet I’ve just scratched the surface. It’s such a deep instrument that I’ve focused on but a subset of its capabilities. There are lots of video demos on the new web site that show what Gestrument can do.
For the moment I’m the only sound artist using Gestrument with pedal steel guitar. Video.
Not at all incidentally, the two most recent Kamelmauz recordings solely feature Gestrument as a sound source.
is a mix of the short tracks from this:
The KamelmauzSoundcloud account is all Gestrument at the moment.
Via a tip on the Pedal Steel Guitar forum, here a video of–I believe–Eddie Fulawka making a pedal steel guitar. At one point in the incredibly concise clip from the Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made, the narrator mentions that in getting the pick-up level, “There’s no room for error.”
Hmmm, there’s not a lot of room for error elsewhere. The modern pedal steel guitar is a wonder of craftsmanship, and with the top-of-the-line guitars, each is the product of a lot of handcraftsmanship.
I wierded out bOb, the proprietor of The Pedal Steel Guitar forum when I inquired about using a straight pentatonic tuning on an 8 string Fender. He’s a great guy and was nice about the off-the-wall query. He wrote me: “I see.” I abandoned the idea, (pentatonic D starting at D3, low D-E-B-A-G-D-B-D,) soon enough.
Yet, given that the goal is to make naive Kamelmauz-style hed music sooner rather than later, I searched through the haystack of tuning threads on the forum. There are but two schools of thought on 8 string pedal steel tunings. Either you do an impoverished E9, loosing the chromatic strings, or go for a variant on Sneaky Pete’s B6th. The Sneaky B6th is basically a universal-type tuning. Except, Sneaky worked with 9 pedals and 2 knees!
Then I came across an E Major tuning. It’s either a Bobby Lee (bOb) by way of Dave Dogett, or visa versa, tuning. It’s very much like the standard Open E on two of my lap steels.
Next, I approximated part of the standard E9th using the familiar E9 pedal set up. Basically, this Open E tuning strips the F# strings out of the E9th tuning. Called by bOb the E Power tuning, and used by nobody except naive pikers set up in the room off the kitchen–probably–the tuning is very neat. It’s all major chord grips with the pedals used to snatch some country-ish licks, and, lo and behold, snatch the pentatonics too.
Oh, I hung a G Pentatonic on the Rondo SX 6 string lappie.