John Edmonds - "Subzerosonic"

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)

The Chapman Stick. In Alaska. I wonder if John is the only Stick player in Alaska? A quick Chapman Stick discussion. The Stick, as itís called, was invented by Emmett Chapman in the 70ís ( It looks like a big guitar neck with no body. It typically has either 10 or 12 strings, which are tapped by the player. The Stick hangs on a hook on the playerís belt and is supported by a shoulder strap. Typically the Stick is configured with 5+5 strings or 6+6 strings comprised of a set of low strings and a set of high strings. The best-known Stick player is Tony Levin with King Crimson.

John plays the guitar and bass parts on the Stick and is joined by his computer (hooked to keyboard). There are no vocals. For a point of reference Johns work is very reminiscent of Sean Maloneís (Gordian Knot) Stick work. I guess that type of playing is being labeled Technical Prog.

Johnís playing is very fluid. He does some nice proggy lead lines over some pretty solid bass playing. The two handed tapping technique allows for simultaneous lead and bass playing. The accompaniment is mostly sequenced and consists of keyboard washes and percussion. John apparently took some time writing the sequences because they never sound canned. While at times the percussion is a little overpowering (thatís a matter of personal taste) itís very interesting. Itís not your standard drum set, but rather a mixture of hand drums and tuned percussion.

As a big fan of prog and of the Chapman Stick I really like this CD. Nice long tracks (6-8 min), no vocals, and good playing. Bravo!

For more information you can visit the John Edmonds web site at:

Reviewed by Louis Hesselt-van-Dinter

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