Normalized – Andre LaFosse
Altruist Music 2301
If you think you’ve heard everything a guitar can do, Andre LaFosse would
like you to hear something.
LaFosse’s second solo record, Normalized is essential listening for
any guitar player, if not simply to see the incredible untapped sonic
capabilities of an instrument that was previously thought by some to have
been played every way possible. True, LaFosse does have the help of the
Echoplex Digital Pro and LoopIV software, but this can fairly readily be
compared to the modern guitarist’s use of effects pedals and various other
sound manipulating gadgets.
The difference with LaFosse is the concept that he calls "Turntablist
Guitar," which is best described in his own words. "I can drop tiny
fragments of guitar into the loop, I can play the loop backwards, slow the
loop down, chop the loops up… and I can do this all live, as I’m playing.
It’s like my guitar is the record, and the Echoplex is the turntable and
mixer. Just like a turntablist uses their technique to get sounds that are
far beyond what’s on the original record, I can come up with noises and
rhythms that would be impossible to play on just an unlooped guitar."
Truly a pioneer of the Echoplex as an instrument, his confidence in his
mastery is proven by the fact that 14 of the 18 tracks on the album are live
Echoplex solos. While most artists relish the fact that "studio" albums or
commercial releases can be polished and mixed until they are just right,
LaFosse decided to show his guitar and Echoplex capabilities in their rawest
The result is somewhere between Aphex Twin, Art of Noise, Squarepusher, and
some kid making beats on his computer late night in Mom’s basement, except
it’s all guitar — manipulated guitar, yes, but guitar nonetheless. That’s
the part you have to keep reminding yourself of while listening to
Normalized, that and the fact that your CD isn’t skipping, even
though sometimes you would bet the farm that it is. Although the album is
surely not for everyone, it definitely is for anyone who enjoys experimental
music, or who enjoys hearing a musician brave enough to laugh in the face of
convention and create a truly original musical voice. We’re talking over an
hour of a full-on collision of rock, drum & bass, hip hop, pop, jazz and who
knows what else, all told through the electric guitar via Echoplex.
In an odd twist, the title track of this experimental and electronic
sounding album is a single solo unlooped twangy guitar piece, hauntingly
different from the rest of album. It is a fitting homage to the most basic
element of LaFosse’s music: his guitar.