Last night I caught Greg Malcolm's performance as a part of the Mono series of events organised by the ever hard working Lawrence English and Room 40.
Greg Malcolm was playing 3 guitars simultaneously, a gaffa-covered, very battered-looking guitar played with his left foot, almost like a bass drum, using a wrench jammed between the strings near the pickups; a pristine Fender Jaguar reissue (bravely, or perhaps foolishly? lent by Lawrence) played with the right foot and also an ebow, a battery operated mini fan, steel wool, a slinky and a metal ruler; a third guitar ... and a tamborine!
The third guitar is played more traditionally (in his lap) and was created especially for Greg by Christchurch instrument builder Peter Stephen. This guitar is unusual in that it has 2 sets of strings - the standard set and another sympathetic set of strings which run diagonally inside the guitar body, creating sympathetic droning sounds similar to a sitar. This guitar was played in Greg Malcolm's typical finger picking style, but was also mutated with the use of a huge spring, a camera (flash), additional metal wires and rubber bands.
It was a very enjoyable performance and I managed to sit right at the front to closely watch the man in action. He doesn't stop moving! Between the constant rhythm created using his left foot, the finger picking and the contrasting melodies and harmonies using the guitar on the floor at his right foot (which also manages the tamborine) it is a very busy performance. I left with a copy of Greg's new CD Hung and a few new ideas to try out myself.
There were two other performers playing last night, starting with ex-pat kiwi Leighton Craig and his solo keyboard works, using two keyboards to create some lovely, almost whimsical little pieces and ending with another New Zealand musician, electronic musician and laptop performer Rosy Parlane who created a rather organic sounding and hypnotic piece for a man sitting in the corner of a room with only a computer.
Greg Malcolm - Depresso Guitar
Greg Malcolm - Ghost From The Past