Songs From The Guitar Solos
By: Eric G.
For his debut solo record, Jeremy Boyle, the keyboardist/guitarist for the Chicago-based Joan of Arc has taken six famous but not necessarily influential guitarists of the 1999’s and deconstructed their guitar solos to the point of unfamiliarity. The selection of guitarists is not unpredictable but makes strange bedfellows out of bands you wouldn’t normally put in the same category such as Jimi Hendrix and Kiss or even AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. The resulting sounds have the opposite reaction of the original recordings- hardly the spotlight grabbing, inevitable bursts of cheese and indulgence we remember. Boyle has morphed these respective solos into textural pieces of droning sound.
Boyle’s arduous process of isolating each solo so as not to include any of the rhythm tracks from the original recordings makes for an uncompromisingly difficult record. The tones shimmer in waves with unidentifiable rumblings and rings that are so far from their original context as to be impossible to define. This, on the one hand, makes the whole endeavor seem pretty pointless. If you have to be told that you are listening to an Eddie Van Halen solo that has been ‘processed’ and ‘deconstructed’, what’s he point? Yeah, it might be a good conversation piece, but without a point of reference this whole idea seems almost as indulgent as the ‘art’ of the guitar solo itself. Maybe that’s the point- to take a totally self-indulgent form of expression like the guitar solo, emasculate it so to speak, and then regurgitate it in a completely different context, albeit an equally pretentious one.
On the other hand, maybe, the origins of the songs are not important. The music itself is no less listenable once you know its origin. It all depends on how the artist intended it. He truly could have saved himself a lot of time by recording his own bits of guitar and then processing those. We would have been none the wiser. Do we really appreciate these songs more when we are told that they have been carefully plucked and isolated from their original contexts? Do you enjoy a movie more when a person leans over and says ‘this is a true story?’ Of course not.