Yuri Landman Guitar Workshops hosted by Ex-Easter Island Head

Fancy making yourself a guitar from scratch? Jon Davies on a unique opportunity for musicians and novices alike… 

For those bored with their Stratocasters and in need of a different route for their fingers to take, have you ever tried making your own instrument? Well here’s your chance thanks to Ben Duvall of Ex-Easter Island Head!

On April 2nd, Yuri Landman will offer you a choice of two models of guitar that you can build yourself. Landman has been at the heart of experimental guitar music for the best part of the decade, his first big project making a zither for psychotic rockers Liars, and has since provided for Sonic Youth, Micachu  & the Shapes, Melt Banana, and HEALTH, as well as a certain 3 guitarists who have graced Liverpool with guitar orchestra projects, Peter James Taylor of Action Beat, Dustin Wong and Rhys Chatham.

Because of this the workshop is perfectly suited to the city; over 2011 we saw a bridging of the gap between art and music with these performances, as well as a rise in profile of workshop hosts Ex-Easter Island Head. Particular traits of Landman’s creations resonate with the aesthetic of ExEIH’s compositions, most importantly the use of overtones, and having attended a workshop last November, leading Easter Head Duvall couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring him to Merseyside.

“The promoters maintain a sense of spectacle which is just as important as allowing people to hear something new”

According to Duvall the art/music scene in Liverpool is one of a kind: “I think we’re very fortunate in having an array of venues that allow promoters and audiences to explore more ‘arty’ and eclectic music in the city. The a.P.A.t.T Orchestra has presented a wonderful series of concerts since November 2009 which have made use of Liverpool’s landmarks like the Walker Art Gallery and the Bluecoat to present music that would traditionally be thought of as rather ‘niche’ (John Cage, Cornelius Cardew) in an accessible and inclusive fashion to large mixed audiences. Likewise, events such as Atalonia, the Dustin Wong Infinite Love Orchestra, the Rhys Chatham performances and gigs by Monobrow have presented opportunities for creative artists across the city to participate in ‘one offs’ often outside of their comfort zone.”

On top of the chance to be part of something special, we also see healthy numbers attending such happenings. “There is a receptive and supportive audience for these events… particularly encouraging is a lack of pretension in the attitudes of those involved in creating them: accusations of ‘elitism’ are frequently negated by an enthusiastic audience wanting to experience something different, and by careful judgement the promoters maintain a sense of spectacle which is just as important as allowing people to hear something new.”

The two models available are the Triochord for £30, three strings tuned in unison to create a natural chorus effect and the Homeswinger (pictured) for £110, based on Liars’ custom made Moodswinger, featuring 12 strings and a moveable 3rd bridge to create shimmering overtones as well as opening the instrument to microtonal tunings not available on a standard guitar.

The difference in price means that you don’t have to be particularly rich nor a pro musician to take part in the workshops, and Ben Duvall hopes to have a broad range of people registering to the day: “The instruments available have a huge range of sounds and are very easy to learn so I’m hoping we will see musicians of all ages and backgrounds coming out of the woodwork. The fact that they have much in common with ‘ancient’ instruments such as the Guqin and the monochord due to the physical properties of their construction encourages a distinctive approach to playing that I’m hoping people will find very liberating!”

Jon Davies

Book your place at the workshop at Leaf by emailing drowningman@casema.nl and CC’ing Exeasterislandembassy@gmail.com by the 8th March, stating whether you would like to build a Triochord or a Homeswinger.

Posted on 01/03/2012 by thedoublenegative