Thursday, May 23, 2019

Jim Warchol at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on April 21, 2016

I have been recording and greatly admiring the work of Jim Warchol for about five years. I have been meaning to upload my recordings of his work to this blog for quite sometime. I have at least three and possibly four of his wonderful shows ready to go and will be slipping them in between the other shows I am posting this week in an effort to catch up with some of my backlog of recordings. It seems that I am either too busy recording shows to upload them, or I am sitting around moaning and complaining about there not being any shows to record. Hopefully things will get better with the blog soon.

Jim is a very unassuming and friendly person. He does not give off the common "musician vibe" where there is an implicit divide between performer and audience member. As a consequence it is always to pleasure to see him at a show or hanging at Acme buying some vinyl. 

I am not sure when I first noticed his playing around town... I know I did see him at Alverno College in 2015 playing in Jon Mueller's Death Blues group. But most likely the first time was opening up at a show at Acme Records. Ken, the owner of Acme, really enjoys Jim's work and so he has been asked quite a few times to open up for visiting artists. 

Tonight was one such show -- he opened up for guitarist Marisa Anderson and then sat down next to me in the front row to listen intently to her show. 

Jim's music over the last few years -- both with his band Dryhouse Ruins and in his solo work -- is a sort of improvisational ambient "cloud" of sound which has intricate patterns hiding inside a larger drone sound. Like many guitarists i particularly enjoy listening to, his mastery of the fretboard is self-confident enough to seem effortless. When he appears to be in the mood to show off, then he will -- in a classy way. Much of the time, however, he plays in a style which is more reserved but no less interesting. 

Let me use an analogy of a house party. There is always the person in the middle of the room performing for people, telling an outrageous story or just being "the life of the party." This is your typical guitarist and more power to them for their willingness to stand out and shine. But usually, if you go over to the corner near a bookshelf, or the kitchen, there will usually be that one party guest who effortlessly discusses whatever topic is at hand, commenting with expert opinions and information without trying to steer the conversation of the group. In the long run, it is often that type of guest who becomes the best sort of friend to have -- someone who does not repeat the same classic stories or suddenly disappears on you when you're hundreds of miles away from home on a road trip. 

I know that I have photos from the other Warchol shows I am going to upload, but all I could find to post here is a promotional picture. 


suitable for burning to CD

lossless copy of the wav file - can also be burned to CD or played on your iPhone

highest quality version of this lossy but popular audio file format

This was most likely recorded with a pair Church Audio CA-14 cardioid microphones, hand made by Chris Church at his workshop up in Canada, fed into a Sony PCM M-10 recorder, probably with an intervening preamp stage via the Church Audio 9200 preamp. Audacity was used as always to clean up extraneous noise and for fade ins and outs. At times I will boost signals very slightly (2-3dB) in the 6kHz range using the parametric EQ in Audacity.  xAct was used to create the ALAC and mp3 files. 

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