January 22, 2012

One Note

In the latest "batch" of releases from Kevin Greenspon's Bridgetown Records was something eye-catching called One Note, from Dr. D.R. Barclay: "Barclay’s newest offering utilizes 8 years of research and a lifetime of record collecting to present the first definitive collection of one-note guitar solos from dozens of classic pop/punk/blues/indie rock/etc. songs". Though I can't help but think of the prolific Scottish preacher William Barclay, apparently this one has an honest-to-God doctorate in oceanography from UC San Diego and a biography littered with eccentric recording exploits. One Note really is a riveting listen - transitions are so tonally seamless from one solo to the next that the result blends comfortably, even managing to feel more structured than abstract. However enjoyable it is, the real show may still be Barclay's more comprehensive list of past and ongoing projects including a print and t-shirt shop called Nice Snacks/Cold Drinks, a twitter account dedicated to recalling the history of US earthquakes one at a time, and a non-stop 24 hour DJ set (hilariously photographed here).

Greenspon elaborated for me in an email:
The tape was inspired by a forum post [Barclay] made in 2002 pondering which songs had the best one note guitar solos, and the thread kept going for years even after he stopped posting there. He picked up all the records that people talked about and already had a good amount of usable stuff and used the cream of the crop for the tape. He's a really accomplished DJ and recently finished a podcast series where he played a song from from every record he owned. It took him 65 podcast episodes over the span of 2 and a half years. The last episode was 5 hours long.
Dr. D.R. Barclay (Side A Excerpt)
Dr. D.R. Barclay (Side B Excerpt)
Order the cassette from Bridgetown, for $6 by itself or $24 bundled with the label's other recent releases.

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