Review (Avant Garde): "Lettere H" Two Guitars led by Andrea Menafra

When you are playing in a small group the challenge is to create enough variation to keep the music interesting and engaging.  Going from soft to loud and intense to subdued will help but also using different sounds and different colors will help make a small group more sonically appealing.
The group called Two Guitars and their recording “Lettere H” or (“Letter H”) does a reasonable job of achieving this task.  They can however improve on their dynamic range and textural variety to make their music more engaging.

The concepts of the composition and their other pieces are quite intriguing.  They place letters onto the guitar fretboard and the shape of each letter creates a set of chords that the musicians use as their inspiration to compose a melody and improvise over.  This song uses the letter “H” as its inspiration.  As their website explains, they want to use non-musical references as a springboard to create interesting compositions.

The musicians met at UC Berkeley when band leader and classically trained guitarist Andrea Menafra, came to give some seminars at the school.  The topic of discussion was about “new performance techniques for electric guitar in music and contemporary art.”

The members of the group know their instruments and have the technical ability to get around them.  There is a jam band feel here and between the reverb on the guitar and the detuned drums, it sounds as if you walked into a festive Tiki bar by the ocean.  The playing is very loose and they come together on the various hits and accents of the melody to remind you that they are a cohesive group. 
The drummer could play with more space in mind but he has some effective funk chops that help him lay the rhythmic foundation for the track.

The guitarist creates some nice ethereal textures during the bass and drum solos and generates ample energy when it’s his turn to play.

You can read about their approach on their website:

Here's an excerpt of the track:

You can listen to the full track here:


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