Tonight the Music Safari travels to the left coast of the South American continent to Santiago Chili and find a new progressive rock album The handbook of the acid rider(June 2013) from Rafart. Rafart is the solo band of Francisco Rafart, stickist and composer from Chile. Rafart studied music composition under m. Aliocha Solovera at the P. Universidad Católica de Chile. His album The handbook of the acid rider, is dedicated to the Chapman Stick that has influences of progressive rock and electronic music. New Prog Rock Releases says simply….
An impressive work of progressive rock instrumental and avant-garde, led brilliantly by the harmonies of the stick, which results in absolutely fresh and visionary proposal.
After listening to the first few tracks of the album at Progrstreaming. I had to find out a little more about this artist and the instrument the Chapman Stick that he is playing!! I did a basic search at Google that returned little about Rafart. I did find his Facebook page, but the biographical data was limited. So I switched gears and went to find out more about the Chapman Stick. At Wikipedia I read….
The Chapman Stick (The Stick) is an electric musical instrument devised by Emmett Chapman in the early 1970s. A member of the guitar family, the Chapman Stick usually has ten or twelve individually tuned strings and has been used on music recordings to play bass lines, melody lines, chords, or textures. Designed as a fully polyphonic chordal instrument, it can also cover several of these musical parts simultaneously.
A Stick looks like a wide version of the fretboard of an electric guitar, but with 8, 10 or 12 strings. It is, however, considerably longer and wider than a guitar fretboard. Unlike the electric guitar, it is usually played by tapping or fretting the strings, rather than plucking them. Instead of one hand fretting and the other hand plucking, both hands sound notes by striking the strings against the fingerboard just behind the appropriate frets for the desired notes.
For this reason, it can sound many more notes at once than some other stringed instruments, making it more comparable to a keyboard instrument than to other stringed instruments. This arrangement lends itself to playing many lines at once and many Stick players have mastered performing bass, chords and melody lines simultaneously.
Typically, the Chapman Stick is held via a belt-hook and a shoulder strap. The player hooks the instrument onto the belt and places the head and dominant arm through the shoulder strap. The instrument then settles into a position approximately 30 to 40 degrees from vertical, which allows both of the player’s hands to naturally and comfortably address the fretboard. (In comparison, a typically held guitar’s fretboard is more or less horizontal.) The player then hammers onto the strings with the fingertips in the same way that one would strike a piano key. The technique is very similar to that of the piano inasmuch as the player covers both bass and melody notes together with both hands and each note is struck with one finger of one hand. Typically, one hand plays the melody on the treble strings and the other plays rhythm on the bass strings.
Ok so now we know what it looks like and we have heard Rafart play it and know that we like the sound, who are the other musicians who play the instrument. Hum, here is the connection between the stick and prog rock, from Wikipedia…
Former Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson was among the first musicians to introduce the Chapman Stick to the public. Top session player Tony Levin was also an early user, and was playing the instrument from the mid-1970s: he would bring it to a high profile on sessions and tours with Peter Gabriel and featured it in his work as a member of King Crimson from 1981 onwards. He would also use it with Liquid Tension Experiment, and in sessions for bands including Pink Floyd and Yes. Recently, Levin formed the band Stick Men, consisting solely of one drummer and two Stick players.
You can read more about the Chapman Stick here at Wikipedia The article also includes a list of notable Stick Players and Ensembles.
After reading the list of stick players, I checked out at several including Guillermo Cides and Bob Culbertson. I really liked Cides’ album Primitivo. After listening to those players, I think that the Safari has a lot more exploring of the Chapman Stick and the musicians who play it to do!!.
For now though, let’s get back to the music of Francisco Rafart that started this safari in search of the music of the Chapman Stick. Here’s Francisco Rafart and “Pepperoni Atmosphere” from The handbook of the acid rider.