John Bruce Wallace
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John Bruce Wallace

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Loud Noises in a Corner: Engagements on Urban Terrain John Bruce Wallace - solo guitar

The thing that strikes first about John Bruce Wallace’s solo improvised guitar style is the sizzling electric distortion pervading his tone. It's like the empty room filled with the electric guitar world of a man deeply abstract and introverted. It’s a personal world, one of though and space, and gestures full of meaning. No trace of rock rhythmic structures, just rhythms growing out of and into feedback, twisting its way through questions answered by spaciousness or even silences. His thick and saturated tone captures a kind of steel industrial sound, gently relating to the development of the urban situation, and technological society on which he comments, and to the worldly issues faced by modern development. Wallace’s music comes out like a giant question with no apparent answer, just titles such as Afternoon, Early Evening, Evening, yielding the practice of meditation on guitar a way of tapping the human interior’s post pro-harmonic feedback. Notable too is the full-color reproduction of a painting of Wallace’s, depicting a man reaching and withdrawing simultaneously to what is revealed behind the curtain of the soul. Reflective. -LS

Jace W. Ball Creative Enterprises P.O. Box 66083, Washington, D.C.

138 the improvisor March, 96
- the improvisor


Cadence
Vol. 19 No. 1, January 1993, Pages 37-38 Cadence Magazine, Cadence Building, Redwood, NY 13679.

Subject: John Wallace's (gtr) last work was reviewed in the 5/92 (p.20) Cadence.

Name; date & place of birth;
A. John Wallace; 2/6/50, Calais, ME

I). Your most pertinent biographical facts or points of reference.
A. Composer. Performer. Improvisational guitarist. Painter. I have released three recordings, had numerous exhibitions and am author of a monogram in philosophy. Formal education in Philosophy.


2). Your most pertinent artistic facts or points of reference.
A. I am self-taught. I perform improvised music.

3). Your preferred venue for performance (clubs, concerts, recording studio, etc.).
A. I prefer performing in small concert halls or alternative-arts space venues, tours are enjoyable also.

4). Your Major Artistic Achievement.
A. Receiving recognition for the effort that are the music. Tour of Russia and Lithuania. Having my music considered for the ‘91 Bio-Annual [sic] in Sao Paulo (Brazil). Airplay and reviews in many countries. Exhibition in New York City.

5). Future artistic goals.
A. 1) Expand touring. I would like to expand my reach into Europe. 2) Expand the voices I compose for. 3) Help expand the concept of music.

6). Your major turning point(s), personal and/or professional.
A. Reaching the decision and following through on it to produce my own recordings. Relying on the counsel of the heart.

7). How do you relax?
A. Music, painting, and jogging are among many interests.

8). What Is the best way to communicate with you?
A. In person, through Waving Bye Records, by phone or letter.

9). Outside of music, what Is your major passion or Interest?
A. Painting. Discussion involving philosophy.

10). What Is your musical Irritant?
A. Egos, and people who do not listen to themselves or others. Failure of the market system in America to readily expand to new musical ideas. Failure of established support system to embrace new or different ideas or approaches to music.

11). Who are your heroes, or what are your major sources of strength or inspiration?
A. No heroes. My strength comes from my intransigent determination. My inspiration comes from the many who are willing to pursue their uniquely different visions, irrespective of opposition or challenge.

12). The artistic achievement you feel best about to date.
A. Having an individual come out of the audience after a concert in Russia and tell me my music had filled a void inside him that had been created upon the death of a close friend.

13). What is most relevant to your artistry?
A. A clear head/heart. The freedom to express the sounds of my soul.

14). What is the most neglected area in your business?
A. Lack of distribution for small labels or alternative musical formats. Lack of access to venues for those who are introducing new approaches to an instrument or music.

15). What sustains you personally and/or artistically?
A. Commitment to an idea and principle serve to sustain me personally. Artistically, I must create there is no alternative.

16). What makes you feel good and/or successful?
A. That sense that what I am doing during a performance has a certain quality of authenticity and worth. Being aware of having made a difference is one hallmark of success.

17). Preferred geographical place to live.
A. New England. I currently live in ___________ Maryland.

18). Do you feel you have power in your business? In what areas?
A. In some ways, power is a poor quantifier. I have control over artistic content. To the extent that the fruits of my musical labor are submitted to a wider audience, my influence is less because there exists the greater and somewhat nebulous values of the marketplace that I find myself up against. Feedback from radio stations indicates I get airplay, and my thanks to those stations. I believe my efforts require, in part, that the listener come to the music free of expectations.

19). Where is the power in your business most centered? Can you, or do you, reach it?
A. Again, power is misleading. Who are the major arbiters of value? The major record labels and press, followed by concert and festival promoters and their sponsors. However there will always be those individuals who prefer to explore new and/or different ideas, these individuals also constitute a market even if somewhat smaller. I have reached out and contacted some of the members of this market. I hope to touch more.

20). What would you like the public to most understand about you?
A. That each improvisational performance is a presentation of a truthful event available for all to share. - Cadence vol. 19 no.1


[I]ncredibly interesting guitar improvisation, [i]f you are into guitar you will be into this from John Bruce Wallace. Incredibly talented. Susie Mudd, MARYLAND MUSICIAN, Baltimore, MD

Wallace is one of those rare exceptions. Charles S. Russell, EAR MAGAZINE, New York, NY

Sinuous solo guitar improvisations...rippling, resonant sound. Mark Jenkins, WASHINGTON CITY PAPER, Washington, DC

An aggressive, wailing guitar sound--astonishing and extremely individual--that one has never heard before. Grigory Valov, TIF, Arkhangel'sk, Russia

[S]izzling electric distortion...thick and saturated tone...tapping the human interior's post pro-harmonic feedback. LaDonna Smith, the improvisor, Birmingham, AL

Wallace can very obviously play. [L]engthy meditations, often very spiked and twisted...often wild and unpredictable. Ken Egbert, OPTIONS, Santa Monica, CA

[I]ndividual sustain-drenched notes hang in the air, decaying naturally. Robert Iannapollo, CADENCE, Redwood, NY

Wallace interprets the improvised pieces with many harmonics, with inconsistent rhythms over fractured changes. Philippe Renaud, NOTES, Nantes, France

[H]is playing is a lot less predictable than that of many guitar warriors, and the best of it has a savage beauty that Eddie Van Halen couldn't achieve with six months of overdubs. Mark Jenkins, WASHINGTON CITY PAPER, Washington, DC

He invented a new technique of playing while continuously changing the pitch of his electric guitar. Svetlana Korel'skaya, ARKHANGEL'SK, Arkhangel'sk, Russia

[R]efreshing to hear music of such originality and quality for a change. Don Reimus, WOUI Radio, Chicago, IL

I really like the new material and it will be played for a long time (we still play "Plumbing" regularly). Rockin' Patrick Mokrane, Knight After Productions (CITR and CFRO Radio), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

[A] composer working to create a new voice for the electric guitar...creating a new approach to the instrument. Tim Brady, Opus Novus, Bradyworks, Codes d'Acces, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The music is clearly developed, powerful, and expressive. Rick Petrie, WITR Radio, Rochester, NY

Really great improvisation for guitar. Dwight Loop, Earwaves Radio Network, KSFR Radio, Santa Fe, NM


- Various Publications and Radio Sources


Discography

Impaled Dreams of the Believer

Riding the Cusp of Time

Electro Static Time Line

Loud Noises In A Corner: Engagements On Urban Terrain

John Bruce Wallace In Russia

Plumbing the Depths of Reason

Krank Cauls Disturb My Sleep

Photos

Bio

I am a composer, improvisational guitarist, painter, and philosopher interested in freely improvised music with a focus on generating extended sound statements within the options afforded through solo performance. What I do is referred to, especially in Europe, as ‘Free Jazz’, totally improvised sound expressions with emphasis on deconstruction of structure and pattern, upon which one can become comfortable and rely on during a performance, while generating a narrative of the moment. I am interested in the textural aspects of the sounds, in the physical dimensioning of each note, of the geometric quality of the sound. I am also concerned with the timbre of every note and passage, and with the rhythmic structure of the relationship of each note to its neighbors within the musical neighborhood. Compositions are improvised extemporaneously on solo electric guitar without the use of tape, tape dubbing, computers or synthesizers. The idea is to utilize a few basic tones and then present relational possibilities inherent in those tones. The improvised compositions often incorporate sonorous multi-tonal qualities, dense, interwoven passages embellished with harmonic and micro-tonal sound statements, or silence further defined by irregular syntaxed rhythms and primitive beats. These extempore compositions incorporate complex musical riddles wherein are displayed the qualities of multiple instrument arrangements, incorporating voicings that bring to mind horns, sax, chimes, cello and strings, and percussion as well as various guitar timbres: All in the service of exploring, exposing, exhuming, and exploding the human GEIST. In fact I have been credited with inventing a new approach to playing guitar. I have recorded and released seven albums of extended sound statements that have received considerable air play on alternative and college radio across North America, Western and Eastern Europe, along with reviews in leading trade journals and press. Tours have included festivals in Russia and Lithuania, where I was awarded fourth place at the Vilnius Jazz Festival. My music was invited for performance consideration at the American Pavilion during the 1991 Bienal-Sao Paulo, in Sao Paulo Brazil. I have shared performance billings with: Tim Hodgkinson, Evan Ziporyn, John King, Vladimir Tarasov, ZGA, Enver Izmailov, Burham Ocal and Jazz Band Arkhangel'sk, to name a few.

A high point during the concert tour in Russia was when a veteran of the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan came up after the performance and indicated that he had been comforted and relieved of a great sense of loss over the death of a fellow soldier and friend through what he experienced from what John had played.

My experiences, encountered while participating in the popular music business from the inside via associations with individuals at Columbia Records (while living in New York) greatly disillusioned me to the belief that the importance of the quality of talent counted as a value considered in the priorities regarded as essential by A&R (Artists and Repertory) executives to achieving ‘Fame and fortune’ as a rock star, as-well-as exemplifying the tremendous shallowness of the whole popular culture within our society. This moved me to look more closely at jazz and ‘free jazz’ as practiced in Europe, by established artists such as Ornatte Coleman, Anthony Braxton, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Derek Bailey, and by certain young artists at the time beginning to work in Alphabet-city on New York’s lower East side, some of whom I have since shared performance billings with; music expressions that place great value on quality of talent, originality, and uniqueness, as the appropriate voice for my sound statements (a good deal of the time I think in terms of sounds), while taking time to formalize my interests in philosophy.

John finds supplemental expression through painting and computer generated art. He has exhibited in several shows in New York and Washington, DC, as-well-as in shows in Chicago, Minneapolis, Missouri, Maryland, Maine, and Virginia, with positive reviews in the local artpress.

Educated in Philosophy, John takes interest in issues in the Philosophy of Mind, Consciousness, Philosophy of Psychology, Epistemology, Logic, Perception, Time, and Thought. He has published a monograph on Solipsism, Mind, and Consciousness.