Podcast 380: Bill Orcutt

Guitarist and composer Bill Orcutt has always worked on the fringes of music: He’s crafted noisy punk as a guitarist in Harry Pussy, served raw blues-inspired acoustic music as a solo artist, and has even composed computer music.

With his new album, Music for Four Guitars, he creates something completely different: 14 compositions for a guitar quartet that, as of now, doesn’t really exist. Between Bill’s mesmerizing, looped playing (on what turns out to be a Telecaster with two strings removed) and his DIY recording technique (Logic with a “pawnshop” amp plug-in), it’s like nothing else you’ve ever heard. It harkens to the classic sounds of early Minimalism, but with an entirely new twist.

On the podcast, Bill sheds light on this beguiling record, talks to us about his recording process, and explains why he used only the bridge pickup for these compositions. He also describes how he re-created Randy Newman’s Sail Away album cover photo and hints at when Music for Four Guitars will actually be played by four separate guitarists (himself being one of them).

Buy this album on Bandcamp and you’ll get an 84-page PDF score of these compositions. Who knows? You and three friends may be the first to play them in their entirety:

This episode is sponsored by Peghead Nation (use the promo code FRETBOARD and get your first month free or $20 off any annual subscription); Izotope (use the coupon code FRET10 to save 10% off their plug-ins); Retrofret Vintage Guitars; Izotope (use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase); and Calton Cases.

Above photo: R Orcutt