Tag Archives: guitar

David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock

28 Dec

Note: This review is a “media blackout” first look at Gilmour’s solo work, hence it may well be an incomplete collection of obvious statements.

rattle that lock_smallA lot of guitarists are all about flair and flames and showing off their hottest tricks. Not David Gilmour. Despite being a guitarist of mythic proportions, Gilmour’s leadwork is all about sentiment and storytelling, which he rouses and relays through the emotive and intriguing melodies carried across in his signature tone.

While the cinematic, orchestral instrumentation and tender, mournful guitar solos permeating Rattle That Lock could well have been plucked from a Pink Floyd album (circa Dark Side of the Moon, however much I hate to make the typical reference), this is a much purer taste of what Gilmour brought to the band.

The long, plaintive, and beautifully-backdropped leadwork of opening track “5 A.M.” perfectly encapsulates this, as do the lone elegy that is “A Boat Lies Waiting”, the varied instrumental wilderness “Beauty”, and “And Then…”, an echo of “5 A.M.” which picks up pieces of its melody to symmetrically close the album.

Yet title track “Rattle That Lock” and other tracks such as “Faces of Stone” and “Dancing Right In Front of Me” present a jarringly different, squarely structured format that feels blunt when contrasted with the delicate instrumental progressions beginning, ending, and recurring throughout this album – however rallying and relevant the rattle that lock / loose those chains refrain is, much like The Wall (Pink Floyd, 1979) was (and continues to be).

While this variation in sound is impressive, to me it feels discordant rather than diverse.

Rattle That Lock makes for stirring and captivating music when tracks are hand-picked to my liking, and I am interested to see if other Gilmour fans feel the same.

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Look, I have a ukulele!

25 Jan

At the end of last year, my parents awarded me with a ukulele as a thank-you gift for being such a magnificent daughter. (Well, yes, it could have been a Christmas present, but not everybody thinks that way about the 25th of December, you know… where did you come from and why are you carrying binoculars?)

As the boisterous excitement surrounding this wonderful new present died down, however, we discovered – politely trying to hide our grimaces of displeasure with exclamations of “oh, look how nicely its colour compliments the inside of its box!” – that the poor little instrument had a very clumsy setup, and, as result, a very clumsy sound.

In guitarist’s terms, the nut and the saddle (the little white plastic bit in the bridge) were so high that the there was nearly a full tone’s difference between an open string and the same string held down on the first fret. “Nearly a full tone’s difference” also meant that there was no chance of the strings staying in tune both when open and when held down to form a chord. In short, poor Arnold (my ukulele) sounded permanently out of tune.

Luckily, my dad knew exactly what to do. We took Arnold apart and filed down the nut and the saddle until they were at a height contingent with tunefulness. This process also gave me the opportunity to file down any rough edges in the ukulele’s body.

To the amusement of my parents, I also decided to paint my ukulele, drawing all the imagery from Edward Lear’s poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, which my mum used to read to me when I was tiny.

Once the four layers of varnish were dry and the strings were back on, my friend David and I filmed a silly little Youtube cover to christen my new baby.

 

Ukuleles are wonderful little instruments, and despite the likely need of modification (which was actually a lot of fun), I’d say it’s well worth hunting all over Cape Town (as my parents did) to find one.