Stephen Malkmus' great respect for his guitar

Stephen Malkmus' great respect for his guitar

Stephen Malkmus he was the leader of the Pavement. After leaving the group he released albums with other bands without daring to use only his own name to sign the records. At least until 2019 when he published his first real solo album, “Groove denied” (read the review here). The following year the American musician, who turns 58 today, repeated the feat with “Traditional techniques”. Since then nothing more. To celebrate his birthday we invite you to read the review he wrote for us Daria Croce of his second and (currently) last solo album.

Every time I think of Malkmus I think of the pin that has been attached to the strap of my guitar for about 20 years, taken at a concert of ours together with his Jicks at the beginning of the 2000s. That gadget, with the writing “Who The Fuck Is Stephen Malkmus?”, represents the ironic streak of the former Pavement, his desire to have fun and not take himself too seriously, despite representing one of the most iconic figures of the nineties indie .

Not taking yourself too seriously doesn't mean you don't take what you do seriously. So much so that Malkmus has churned out three albums in a couple of years, starting with “Sparkle Hard” again with the Jicks in 2018, then continuing as a soloist with “Groove Denied” in 2019 and now with “Traditional Techniques”.

This album, strongly acoustic, takes us on a journey into the roots of American folk, contaminated by oriental sounds and sitar arrangements, starting from the opening track “ACC Kirtan”. It's a slow journey like these days of quarantine, but peaceful: between hints of fingerpicking and slide, these are 11 tracks that make you breathe deeply among the open spaces of the long American roads, with the horizon as far as the eye can see – and in this period, this is no small thing.

Malkmus made use of the collaboration of Chris Funk, guitarist of the Decemberists, Matt Sweeney of Chavez and the Afghan musician Qais Essar, to release an album that pays homage to the Stars and Stripes folk tradition, with some innovations.

For the first time, in fact, Stephen plays a 12 string and, from what he told “Rolling Stone” during an interview, it seems that everything started from there: “I have a 12 string guitar that I bought here in Portland, I paid $700 for it. I tried to resell it in a store, but they said, 'This is busted, I can give you $300.' I replied: 'You have no respect for this guitar! I'll show you what it can do.'” And he proved it.