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Plini - A Very Impressive Young Talent from Down Under
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 2783
Location: Chino, CA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:57 am    Post subject: Plini - A Very Impressive Young Talent from Down Under Reply with quote

It's been over ten-and-a-half years since Guthrie showed up at my Tone Merchants shop and performed a clinic that changed my life and the direction of my career in the guitar industry. Since then, I've continued to cast an eye towards an endless stream of talented new up-and-comers but none of them grabbed my interest or intrigued me enough to really dig in although I do like some of what Tosin Abasi has been doing. He's certainly a major talent. Another young player that I like a lot is Leonardo Guzman from Colombia. I think he has a bright future ahead of him. I'm good friends with his manager and we talk about him often.

Then, about a week ago, Ola Strandberg sent me some links to a 22-year-old guitarist/composer named Plini based in Sydney, Australia. Normally, I don't bother with links that most people send me but since this was from Ola, whose musical tastes are virtually identical to mine, I had to check. And, man, am I glad I did. I've been waiting for a great new guitar talent to appear for a long time - someone with Guthrie's all-encompassing chops, feel, tone, and musicality but with his own unique musical voice and style, i.e. someone who really doesn't sound like Guthrie although he'll obviously have been influenced by him to a great degree.

Plini really is an amazing player. Besides mind-blowing chops and versatility, he has those intangibles like touch, tone, sense-of-timing, groove, "headroom", and "slipperiness" that I really haven't seen in anyone besides Guthrie. His phrasing in his melodic lines and solos is very reminiscent of what Guthrie would do but it still sounds different. Plini has internalized his various influences (besides Guthrie, I hear Tosin, Vai, Metheny, Beck, Dream Theater, some Meshuggah and other recent prog-metal bands, Steven Wilson, to name a few) and just lets his mind and heart take over to compose his music and to play how he does. He's got his own thing - a voice and a musical identity and will become more apparent as he matures over the years.

I think what makes Plini quite special is his compositional sense. Ultimately, it comes down to the music. As I always like to say, it's not about what you can do on the guitar but what you can come up with. There are many amazing monster players out there but I quickly lose interest if the music doesn't grab me and hold my interest. I prefer to listen to new players' music through an audio system of some sort with headphones than watch them on YouTube. In fact, I rarely spend time in YT. Not a video guy at all. I don't watch TV or movies either. I much prefer to read or listen to music.

So when I check out some new player, I'm really listening to the music and observing how it flows and I'm comparing it to the music of various other musicians, not just guitar players. Besides the melodic content, I'm always interested in the harmonic structure underneath and the types of chords that are being played. I'm also looking to hear some interesting rhythmic patterns that don't sound forced. If these things aren't happening, I really don't care how good of a player someone is. I just zone out rather quickly if the music isn't that good. I'd rather listen to a good singer-songwriter with an old beat-up acoustic than a monster player with boutique guitar gear just spewing out the same old tired licks and tricks.

Well, I can see why Plini calls himself a "guitarist/composer". The composition aspect is as big of a part of who he is as a musician as the guitar playing aspect. As impressive as Plini's guitar playing is, it's really his writing that has made an impression on me. I would dig his music even if there was no guitar in it at all. Some of his songs have no solos in them at all and I think that's really cool. The songs didn't need any solos. And when he does solo, he exhibits admirable restraint to complement the mood and the flow of the composition. He doesn't bombard you with a torrent notes for the sake of it even though he's clearly capable of doing so. He does more by playing less.

One thing that sets Plini apart from Guthrie is that he's clearly a metal guy when he wants to be. He likes metal - a lot. Guthrie, on the hand, just isn't a metal guy. That's about the only genre he and I don't share the same amount of enthusiasm. I like metal and over-the-top distortion as long as I like the music. In fact, I'm as big of a metal fan than I have ever been and love the music and the sounds of Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, Tool and a lot of the newer prog-metal bands like Periphery, the Intervals, Scale The Summit, Cynic, Scar Symmetry and many others. I really like modern metal with the heavy detuned "djent" sounds. It's here to stay and seems to be getting only bigger and bigger by the day compared to other guitar-oriented music genres.

So, to me, Plini seems like a cross between the virtuosic rock-fusion of what Guthrie is doing and the prog-metal of Tosin and Thordendal of Meshuggah with a good dose of classically inspired but modern soundtrack-type compositions with nice sprinklings of jazz and electronica here and there. The music is very eclectic and each track holds your interest from front to end although a few seem a little longer than they need to be. I really like it that there's a healthy dose of modern metal in his music and playing because I listen to a lot of that these days. He's actually providing something that Guthrie doesn't do because it's just not his thing. I've asked Guthrie more than a few times if he ever plans to do something that's more "metal" and he just doesn't seem interested. Oh, well. That's just who he is as a musician.

Plini certainly satisfies the metal and prog side of me and he's clearly about now and the future. He's absorbed the music of the past but he's all about moving it forward with his own ideas and creativity. And those are the musicians who interest me the most. They're always trying to do something different and not repeating themselves or what others have done. I'm also mainly interested in the music that is setting new trends and that defines the era we are in now. I have absolutely no desire to listen to old 70's and 80's stuff anymore for nostalgia sake. It's more about what's "cutting edge" now. Guthrie certainly belongs in the group of musicians who are always stretching boundaries and staking out new musical territories. That's just how he is and I'm certain that he will always remain so.

And, now, there's Plini who's got his own style and voice with the same adventurous mindset taking the music in various other directions. I, for one, am thrilled by the discovery of this amazingly talented young musician. He also seems like a very intelligent but humble and down-to-earth person who's also interested in a lot of things besides music. That's very cool. It's always good to run into people like this who are so good at what they do but they have interests in other things in life and other parts of the world.

Anyway, enough talk. Here's a recent video of Plini doing a play-through of his tune called 'Atlas'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu30pc1acE0

And a video of a tune called 'Cloudburst'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRkgxaRdf54

This following song called 'Selenium Forest' is one of my faves. It's haunting, tasty, alive, and grand at the same time. This is audio only.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fNhD_lP1F4

Here's the full audio EP called 'Sweet Nothings' that show a very wide range of musical styles and genres. Not much metal in this one at all. The first tune called 'Opening' has a rather mind-blowing guitar solo by Plini that starts at around 3:25 and ends at 3:56. A guest solo by a player named Piotrek Gruszka then starts for the final solo.

There's another guest solo (the last one on the third track called 'Away') by a player named Stephen Taranto.

And here's an EP that Plini made with a good friend of his named Sithu Aye. The first two tracks are by Plini:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8waJzs9iDKM

And here's a photo of Plini (on right) with Sithu Aye from his Facebook page. I believe this is the only public photo of Plini in existence.



And two more from the 'Other Things' EP that shows the mellower and jazzy side of Plini:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBztSKccrDE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyYL-A5TYvw

There are more and you can download the tracks at Plini's Bandcamp site:

https://plini.bandcamp.com

You can download for free but I bought 'em all to offer my support. If you like what you hear, please do buy and show your true appreciation.

Cheers!
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Last edited by alexkhan on Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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doctordragon



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice playing; Ed, if you like Plini you will probably appreciate Chon!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrhpqOx371M
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

doctordragon wrote:
Nice playing; Ed, if you like Plini you will probably appreciate Chon!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrhpqOx371M


Yes, Chon in good. I like all these new young artists and bands that have a fresh sound. They have a lot to offer for the future. They're defining the era we live in now, so to speak.

A lot of the older folks always complain that rock music today isn't what it used to be and that's true. Why should it be like the classic rock of the 60's~80's? That's all oldies now. It was relevant for that era but it isn't representative of what the young musicians today are drawing from. It's a different era we live in now and I love it.

I think there's more good music right now than there has ever been. It takes more work to seek it out than when we were spoon-fed by the big record labels, magazines, and a few radio stations back then but I, from a fan's perspective, find the current music industry much more interesting and rewarding.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the litmus test for guitar instrumental music is playing it for non-players and non-musicians who are simply fans of good music as casual listeners - especially women. I've introduced Plini's music to my wife, her friends, her sisters, my sister, my mother and other relatives and friends and they all love his music. My wife was a piano performance and composition major for a while in college so she does pay close attention to the melodic content, harmonic development and things like that but what matters, ultimately, is that the music simply sounds good, is memorable and something you want to return to over and over again.

It's been a very cool thing to observe the really positive responses from normal music fans who are not guitar nerds. Guthrie has also been very well received by non-player/musician fans for a long time and I believe that's very important to build a career writing and recording one's own original music. So many young players have great chops but, very often, their music is a snooze-fest of "Hey, check me out" technical displays that will only appeal to the most hardcore players. But great melodies and songs will appeal to people of all ages and stripe - even people who don't know how many strings are on a guitar. Cool
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the link to Plini's SoundCloud page with various little clips, sound bytes, and musical ideas (some of which made it fully formed to tunes on the EP's).

https://soundcloud.com/plini

Plini covers an extremely broad range of genres, styles and sounds here: modern metal to trance techno, prog fusion to folk-pop, math rock to jazz, soundtrack orchestrations to solo acoustic...

Plini has also opened my ears and eyes to the wealth of great music being produced by his peers like Sithu Aye, Helix Nebula, Versed, Skyharbor, ALAYA, etc. Really good stuff.

Another very interesting and promising young artist I've had the pleasure to discover and hook up recently is Yvette Young.

https://www.facebook.com/yveyoung

She has also opened up a whole new world of modern music to me that I hadn't been exposed to before - especially in the math rock and post-rock genres. It's really enlightening to discover and experience what today's young talented musicians are creating these days. Smile
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And for the guitar nerd in us, a nice short clip of Plini's solo on 'Opening'. Awesome and beautiful. Cool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R65TFPzE8Sw
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the character and personality of a player really comes out in the way he phrases - especially with string bends and vibrato. It's why I dig Guthrie, Jeff Beck, and Mike Landau so much - their personalities really come through in the way they phrase with their bends and vibrato.

It's also what I listen for when checking out a new player. Chops and finesse - fast alternate picking, smooth high-speed legato, unique ways of tapping, etc. - are pretty much a given these days. So many players have an abundance of great chops and the only way someone can stand out with his own thing is how he phrases to let his musical personality come through.

Plini strikes me as someone who's got his own unique way of phrasing and that is what grabbed me more than the awesome technique and versatility he possesses. This cover of Kimbra's 'Cameo Lover' by Plini is a good example of unique phrasing with Beck-like microtonal bends and vibrato.

https://soundcloud.com/plini/cameo-cover

And here is another good example of Plini doing a cover of Versed's 'Obow' - again reminiscent of Jeff Beck's work on 'Nessun Dorma' on his 'Emotion & Commotion' album.

https://soundcloud.com/plini/obog

Also really good is Plini's "noodling" (by his own words) over Renade's 'Uncertainty'

https://soundcloud.com/plini/uncertainty

That's all good but then there is the modern metal side of Plini that I really dig. He seems to channel the very best of bands and artists ranging from Meshuggah, Animals As Leaders, Periphery, The Intervals, etc. to prog-metal of Dream Theater, Opeth, Devin Townsend, Helix Nebula, and many more. Metal is great. Twisted Evil I love today's metal. I think it has really evolved into a great artistic genre. I like it so much better than the metal I grew up with in the 80's and 90's. To have that coupled with advanced fusion virtuosic displays is something I've been wanting to hear for some time now although Frederik Thordendal of Meshuggah does do some of that every now and then. Well, here are some good examples of Plini's metal-leaning escapades.

https://soundcloud.com/plini/december-15

https://soundcloud.com/plini/march-31

https://soundcloud.com/plini/september-25

https://soundcloud.com/plini/26-may

https://soundcloud.com/plini/october-15

https://soundcloud.com/plini/1-hour-song

https://soundcloud.com/plini/may-16

https://soundcloud.com/plini/may-12

https://soundcloud.com/plini/march-26

And then there's classically influenced soundtrack composer side of Plini that needs to be heard. Sometimes it's "cheesy" little ditties for romantic comedy movies to grand futuristic sci-fi excursions and melancholic New Age noodlings to epic modern electronica soundscapes. It's really cool to know that Plini was as influenced by Hans Zimmer as he was by Steve Vai. Cool

https://soundcloud.com/plini/orchestral-choon-1

https://soundcloud.com/plini/august-26

https://soundcloud.com/plini/march-3

https://soundcloud.com/plini/february-27

https://soundcloud.com/plini/may-15

https://soundcloud.com/plini/june-1

So let's move onto Plini's more "middle-of-the-road" prog or fusion-leaning tracks. As Plini states, a lot of these tracks are quick-and-dirty demos that he recorded and mixed in an hour or so on certain dates. Still, they sound quite impressive considering how quickly they were put together. Again, it's the compositional aspect that I pay attention to as well as his choice of timbres and how the tracks were engineered using stock "off-the-shelf" stuff - iMac, Logic, NI Kontakt, Axe-Fx II, etc. Ultimately, it's what you do with it.

https://soundcloud.com/plini/august-18

https://soundcloud.com/plini/the-bizarre-stellar-graveyard

https://soundcloud.com/plini/september-5

https://soundcloud.com/plini/june-4th

https://soundcloud.com/plini/may-28

And, finally, for some dance-tecno fun Plini has done a guitar re-mix of Avicii's 'Levels'. Being that I love a lot of today's electronica trance music (DJ Armin van Buuren, for example), this brought a big smile to my face. It's great to hear some heavy guitars and tasteful shredding mixed in.

https://soundcloud.com/plini/levels

Another thing I want to add is the quality of the sounds on these demos and on Plini's official EP and singles releases. I think everything sounds great - in some cases as good as a live band playing and recording in a multi-million dollar studio. The technology is available to all but it's apparent that only a relatively few can compose or write good tunes that sound great. Composing, arranging, recording, and mixing are all individual art forms as well - just like the art of playing the guitar and live performance.

I listen to Plini's music and see that he has put in as much effort into composition and music production as he has into his playing - perhaps more. And, considering that Plini is finishing up college to get a Master of Architecture degree in a few months, it's really admirable and commendable that he's such a well-rounded guy. There is so much more to music than being able to play the guitar really fast to impress others. It's clear to me that Plini understands that good technique is just a means to an end to create good music.

I also want to comment on Plini's tone. It's all software plug-ins or the Axe-Fx II direct but it sounds really, really good. This again validates my point that the tone really is in the hands - or more accurately, the mind of the player. It's the approach emanating from the player's vision of what the sound and the tone should be. It's definitely not the gear although the gear is important once the player has a clear idea in his mind of what the sound should be.

I'm more convinced than ever that 90% of one's sound/tone is in the player's hands/mind. Maybe more... So I've come to see over the years that all these debates and arguments over gear (guitars, amps, pickups, pedals, recording gear, etc.) on the Internet are quite pointless and a huge waste of time. Surely, if one has the time to rack up tens of thousands of posts on a gear forum that person could have gotten a lot better by practicing and playing out on gigs instead of talking about it.

And then there's the whole digital vs. tube debate. Again, it doesn't matter because the technology has gotten good enough for good players to sound a lot better with digital than mediocre players playing boutique tube amps. I'd certainly prefer to listen to Guthrie playing a low-end Squier through a Gorilla amp than most gear forum dwellers playing boutique gear. Good gear is important and I want the best I can get like anyone else but, ultimately, it's up to the player. I certainly don't buy this notion that tube is still "better" than digital. It could be for some for certain specific reasons but I know that I won't be going back to tube amps again. Getting a good personal tone is up to the player, not the gear. I'm sure golf players have the same debates but will getting Tiger Woods' set of clubs make one play as well? Wink
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plini has a new song coming out on Monday and has a message:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdPUU0jE2TE

I knew he was going to Cambodia soon for some reason and I figured it was for a good cause and I was right. A very cool all-around guy (and a smart one as he'll get a Master of Architecture degree real soon) as well as a splendid musician. Smile
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Carlo



Joined: 13 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to admit. When it comes to electric guitar music, my tastes and preferences are still bit stuck in the past these days. I love fusion and prog stuff but I get burnt out on them too fast and have to take a break from it. I love The Aristocrats though because they have a raw stripped down vibe to their music to go along with their stunning chops. This Plini dude is bloody fantastic though. Thanks for opening my eyes a bit. I haven't been following the contemporary electric guitar scene that much these days since I've been devoting most of my life to modern acoustic fingerstyle playing.
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carlo wrote:
I have to admit. When it comes to electric guitar music, my tastes and preferences are still bit stuck in the past these days. I love fusion and prog stuff but I get burnt out on them too fast and have to take a break from it. I love The Aristocrats though because they have a raw stripped down vibe to their music to go along with their stunning chops. This Plini dude is bloody fantastic though. Thanks for opening my eyes a bit. I haven't been following the contemporary electric guitar scene that much these days since I've been devoting most of my life to modern acoustic fingerstyle playing.


I know what you mean about moving from genre to genre and being in one realm for a while. I go through it all the time and I'd be in one kind of music for months. For a while it'd only be classical, then techno trance, then extreme metal, then New Age, then fusion, etc. The Aristocrats' music is always on my radar since I work with the band but I'm always weaving in and out of other genres, styles, and artists.

It's a lot of work to keep up with what's going on in the contemporary music scene - whatever genre or style. The challenge is finding what fits your taste. What someone else likes and recommends may be really good but it still may not fit your sensibilities for whatever reason. There are many great artists and bands that I recognize as being very good at what they do and I may like some of their tunes but I wouldn't consider myself a real fan. It could be a classical composer, jazz artist, a classic rock band, a female pop singer, etc. Some you like and some you don't like as much.

Plini is a case of someone who's doing a bunch of things that seem to suit my particular musical tastes from A to Z, which is a rare occurrence. Obviously, Guthrie is like that for me (or I wouldn't be here!). Jeff Beck is another and ditto for Pat Metheny. It's their individual musical styles that appeal to me for whatever reason and there is no explanation necessary for why that is. Everyone has different tastes. Devin Townsend is another artist whose music and style just connects with me and that's all that matters.

So who are some modern fingerstyle acoustic players you recommend? What acoustic are you playing? I love the acoustic guitar and its sound - even more so these days since it's the main instrument I deal with at GC.
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Carlo



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alexkhan wrote:
Carlo wrote:
I have to admit. When it comes to electric guitar music, my tastes and preferences are still bit stuck in the past these days. I love fusion and prog stuff but I get burnt out on them too fast and have to take a break from it. I love The Aristocrats though because they have a raw stripped down vibe to their music to go along with their stunning chops. This Plini dude is bloody fantastic though. Thanks for opening my eyes a bit. I haven't been following the contemporary electric guitar scene that much these days since I've been devoting most of my life to modern acoustic fingerstyle playing.


I know what you mean about moving from genre to genre and being in one realm for a while. I go through it all the time and I'd be in one kind of music for months. For a while it'd only be classical, then techno trance, then extreme metal, then New Age, then fusion, etc. The Aristocrats' music is always on my radar since I work with the band but I'm always weaving in and out of other genres, styles, and artists.

It's a lot of work to keep up with what's going on in the contemporary music scene - whatever genre or style. The challenge is finding what fits your taste. What someone else likes and recommends may be really good but it still may not fit your sensibilities for whatever reason. There are many great artists and bands that I recognize as being very good at what they do and I may like some of their tunes but I wouldn't consider myself a real fan. It could be a classical composer, jazz artist, a classic rock band, a female pop singer, etc. Some you like and some you don't like as much.

Plini is a case of someone who's doing a bunch of things that seem to suit my particular musical tastes from A to Z, which is a rare occurrence. Obviously, Guthrie is like that for me (or I wouldn't be here!). Jeff Beck is another and ditto for Pat Metheny. It's their individual musical styles that appeal to me for whatever reason and there is no explanation necessary for why that is. Everyone has different tastes. Devin Townsend is another artist whose music and style just connects with me and that's all that matters.

So who are some modern fingerstyle acoustic players you recommend? What acoustic are you playing? I love the acoustic guitar and its sound - even more so these days since it's the main instrument I deal with at GC.


My main influence on acoustic is Kotaro Oshio. He has a great personal style but his songs really speak to me and doesn't overload his compositions with technique. I've been learning his songs and technique for a long time now (learning his famous "nail attack" technique was really hard for me to get used to, but it's essential for learning a lot of his stuff). Wings You Are The Hero is prob his most popular tune, which incorporates that technique well

http://youtu.be/FpLVL7X4gOE

My other favorites are Yuki Matsui, Seiji Igusa, and Okapi.


I also love guys like Andy McKee and Don Ross, and the whole Candyrat lot (but some of them can leave a bit cold on the songwriting front).


I play a Martin D28 and Taylor Stripped GA model. But I am hoping to get something better like a Taylor 814, or a special builder. I want the Santa Cruz FS one day, or maybe a Greenfield build (yeah right! Lol)
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link and the introduction to Kotaro Oshio. Enjoyed the vid and checked out a few more as well - including a rendition of 'Wings You Are The Hero' by Sandra Bae. Really nice. It's really good music and that's what matters. Yeah, that "nail attack" does seem very difficult to master.

As much as I enjoy solo fingerstyle acoustic guitar music it's way too late for me to even try anything like this now! Embarassed Laughing Not enough hours in the day... Not enough to even play my beloved Strandberg through the Axe-Fx as much as I'd like...

Still want a Martin HD28 though... Santa Cruz guitars are beautiful but one of those would be way overkill for me. Good to see you so into it and having fun! That's what matters in the end. Very Happy
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, getting back to the subject on hand, Plini has just released a new tune for his upcoming visit to Cambodia which will be for a noble humanitarian cause.

https://plini.bandcamp.com/track/ko-ki

Listen, download and please donate a little if you can! Smile
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Ed Yoon
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.strandberg* Guitars USA
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Carlo



Joined: 13 Sep 2004
Posts: 408

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alexkhan wrote:
Well, getting back to the subject on hand, Plini has just released a new tune for his upcoming visit to Cambodia which will be for a noble humanitarian cause.

https://plini.bandcamp.com/track/ko-ki

Listen, download and please donate a little if you can! Smile


This is a great track. Love the atmosphere. He clearly has good compositional chops to compliment his beautiful technique.
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 2783
Location: Chino, CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carlo wrote:
alexkhan wrote:
Well, getting back to the subject on hand, Plini has just released a new tune for his upcoming visit to Cambodia which will be for a noble humanitarian cause.

https://plini.bandcamp.com/track/ko-ki

Listen, download and please donate a little if you can! Smile


This is a great track. Love the atmosphere. He clearly has good compositional chops to compliment his beautiful technique.


Yep. Plini's compositional and production chops that complement his great technique are what I find so intriguing in his music. I mean, listen to his drum programming work. It really sounds like a great human drummer.
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Ed Yoon
Certified Guthrie Fan-atic
BOING Music LLC - Managing Partner
.strandberg* Guitars USA
Ed Yoon Consulting & Management
Guitar Center Inc.
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