St. Mary's Hamilton Village
3916 Locust Walk in Philadelphia, PA
Free Admission/Donations Accepted
Innovative Spacemusic duo Guitar Pilots return to the remarkable setting of St. Mary's Hamilton Village and The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 22 April 2017. Local guitar sensation Andrew Chalfen is scheduled to provide an opening set.
Guitar Pilots is the spacemusic duo of Art Cohen and Scott Watkins. Their music features lengthy structured improvisational pieces which transport the listener to the depths of space, all the while focusing on each precious unfolding moment. Cohen's sequencer-like echoing guitar figures provide rhythmic propulsion, while Watkins' breathing chords and sub-octave rumblings build a foundation for both musicians to rise in melodic flights. Singing glissando blends seamlessly with plucks, twangs and blasts of an interstellar beam. Following the trail blazed by Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, and the Berlin School, Guitar Pilots carve out their own unique sonic territory that is both organic as the ground underneath and as far-reaching as a distant pulsar.
Art Cohen has been a fixture in the Philadelphia music scene for over 30 years as both a performer and an audio engineer. Fluent in guitar, bass, keyboards and harmonica, he has performed at concert venues and radio studios throughout the Delaware Valley and brought his music to Toronto, New York and other cities in the Northeast. He has released CD's with The Ministry of Inside Things, Delicate Monster, CubiZm, Lessick & Lincoln & Cohen, Waves of Violet, Men from When, and as a solo artist. His music ranges from electronic space to ambient to folk-rock to psychedelic rock to traditional folk to experimental to spoken word and beyond - sometimes within the same performance. Cohen has cultivated a unique guitar style drawing on influences including Garcia, Gilmour, Hendrix, Gottsching, Fripp, and Pinhas.
Scott Watkins may be best known as the guitar half of Orbital Decay, the Philadelphia area guitar & synth duo who, over the past couple of decades, have graced the stages of all the region's important electronic spacemusic venues. Watkins coaxes an extended pallet of sounds from his guitar through the use of synthesizers, modelling processors and a range of outboard gear. He has built many of his own instruments, including an other-worldly 12-foot beam, which resounds throughout his work in Guitar Pilots. Echoes of David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix and Edgar Froese may be heard in Scott's textural and melodic playing.
Guitar Pilots return to The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 22 April 2017.
Album Review: Up and Out by Guitar Pilots
Resisting the digital dark of the laptop set, Art Cohen and Scott Watkins get in touch with the currents of creativity by way of the currents of electricity running through their guitars. Their duo Guitar Pilots has realized a profound double CD showcasing a unique and singular vision. Up and Out demonstrates that the hand moves faster than the thought, as it celebrates the messy vitality of creative collaboration. Featuring seven tracks across two discs, this work hums with undercurrents and sings a heavy metalized message. Jaw-dropping virtuosity is substituted with mind-warping sounds, as heady-mental crosstalking leads give way to dense metal meditations and a woozy submerged feel. Driving and precise, then dreamy and rhythmic, this real-time performing pair use electric guitars, and the associated processing effects, to design a rich and varied palette of textures and tones - which makes for a constantly renewed sonic interest. Along with the looping riffs, sustaining e-bow leads and studies in glissando guitar, Guitar Pilots also include The Beam; a large amplified stringed instrument - meant for plucking, picking, rubbing and generally producing a range of unearthly sounds and tones. Whether resounding on its own, or joining the ferrous forces of echoing guitars, The Beam adds a distinctive, somewhat sub-sonic attribute to this album. These low notes murmur and vibrate like no known instrument, and often presage more kinetic passages. As riven lead lines spin out their cosmic protest at free-fall velocity, a foundry of melting sounds waits below. Once the atonal mass has hardened into a stronger alloy, the duo lights out to even further atmospheric realms. From a single point of charged spark, to an expanse of ethereal limbo, Up and Out is brilliant in its imaginative scope. It aligns with the values of good Spacemusic - and creates a mental state that runs counter to that of the outside world. Mastery of this kind of music is not found in its physical performance, but rather in its design and spiritual effects. After a good listen to Up and Out, it will be easy to regard Cohen and Watkins as among the most eloquent guitarists this side of the dark side of the moon. From bleeding distortion to clean strummed strings, GP moves us steadily between eerie darkness and the reassuring light, then back again - with their revelation from a dark star, to the third stone from the sun.
Philadelphia guitarist of note Andrew Chalfen has led and been a member of many bands, including The Wishniaks, The Trolleyvox, Velvet Kirtan and current instrumental band I Think Like Midnight. While preforming across decades at an extensive range of indie-rock venues, as well as composing and recording, Chalfen also developed his spacey side. As his collection of effects pedals expanded, so did an understanding of spontaneous composition - which led to the ever-deepening satisfaction of innovation. Chalfen now has the ability to produce wondrously filtered tones, layers of chords and repeating motifs (loops) - all produced in real time. Plucked twangs, heading out through silvery reverberation, rise above droning electric strings, and into a magical landscape of hanging metal forms and murmuring digital textures. Sounds divide, then unify, as the atmosphere of expectancy enlarges amidst airy resonances. The placid mood breathes, and soon after lightens. While the ringing and humming of Chalfen's soundspace speaks in clean chords and writhing melodies, the listener will feel an honesty that few can call forth.
Andrew Chalfen will perform a solo guitar soundscape on Saturday 22 April 2017 at The Gatherings Concert Series.
The Gatherings Concert Series presents Guitar Pilots plus Andrew Chalfen live in concert on Saturday 22 April 2017 at 8:00PM (doors open at 7:30pm) in the church sanctuary of St. Mary's Hamilton Village 3916 Locust Walk (just east of 40th & Locust) on the Penn campus in West Philadelphia. Admission: Free! No reservation neccesary. Donations Gratefully Accepted!
CIMA of PA - The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania
Guitar Pilots plus Andrew Chalfen at The Gatherings Concert Series on 22 April 2017 is funded by CIMA of PA(The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania), the all-volunteer, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and producing The Gatherings Concert Series. The basic mission of CIMA of PA is to bring innovative music concerts to the public and further the advancement of this form of art.
Continuing to further the cultivation of innovative music by exciting the efforts of musicians, and to gradually unfold, enlighten, and invigorate the talents of our community, in 2017 The Gatherings Concert Series marks the 25th anniversary of its first event.