The Squid's Ear Magazine


Mendoza, Ava: New Spells (Relative Pitch)

A joint release between Astral Spirts and Relative Pitch, guitarist Ava Mendoza conjures five assertive and rugged "spells" performed on solo electric guitar, passionate works of raw technical skill and bold power as she improvises over two songs composed by herself, alongside pieces written for her from Devin Hoff, Trevor Dunn and John Dikeman.
 

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Ava Mendoza-electric guitar


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UPC: 5904224870386

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR1125
Squidco Product Code: 31338

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded by the artist.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Ava Mendoza plays these songs. She makes them sing. Her technique is impeccable, but her playing is astonishingly expressive. She doesn't just bend blue notes; she wads them up into a ball and throws them up against a wall. She manipulates raw lightning, giving us a sound that is fluorescent and powerful enough to leave a trace of ozone in the air. Mendoza knows what she does better than almost anyone else on the planet, which is tell stories with her guitar.

New Spells features solo guitar music by Mendoza and by three friends and collaborators who wrote music for her-- Trevor Dunn, Devin Hoff, and John Dikeman."-Relative Pitch/Astral Spirits

Mendoza offers:

"New Spells has been in the works for a few years, but all of the music was recorded from home during lockdown 2021 by yours truly. It represents the end of an era and the start of a new one. Many pandemics have been a catalyst for change; they've made people move on from the past and imagine things differently. These are spells, hopes and prayers delivered at a gateway between worlds, to say goodbye to one and welcome the next. Their intent is to help set down some of our prejudice and greed as we move into a new world.

As someone who plays often as a sidewoman, I love interpreting other people's music. Playing solo is one of my chances to play my own writing, which I also love of course. But sometimes I miss interaction, I miss arranging and interpreting other folks' writing. I decided to involve other folks in my solo work, to do a record that was partly my own music, and part music by friends whose work I love. I wanted to interpret the other composers' work in as personal a way as I could, so that the idea of "whose" it was became a question as much as possible. I guess I thought of it as a way of making community music, even though it's a solo record.

The album cover shows me against a background of barbed wire and prickly pear cactus-- a reference to the southwestern US and the Mexico-US border. Having lived many years around southern California and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this area and its beautiful deserts are near and dear to me. A huge portion of the country's Native American reservations are in the southwest, their borders marked by fences and barriers. The national border itself is the site of many generations of struggle and death, and of ongoing violence against immigrants, including indefinite detention and forced separation of children from their parents.

Prickly pear cactus (many species in the Opuntia genus), has grown in the region naturally for thousands of years. It's a big part of traditional Mexican and Native American cuisine and medicine. Both the fruit and the pads are delicious (despined!). The cactus grows where it wants and doesn't operate according to artificial borders. On the cover, wild prickly pear grows high and overruns the barbed wire border behind it. This music is devoted to that spirit."

Also available on cassette tape with Download.

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"My name is Ava Mendoza. I play guitars and stompboxes and write music. Currently I'm based out of Brooklyn, NY. I have played guitar for most of my life and been active for the last decade playing my own music and in many different groups. In any context I try to bring expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music I play. I've toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including singer Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Fred Frith (Massacre, Henry Cow, Art Bears), Nels Cline, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Weasel Walter, Tune-Yards, and more. I've played on recordings released by labels Weird Forest, Tzadik, Clean Feed, NotTwo, ugEXPLODE, Resipiscent, New Atlantis, and others.

Friendly critics have called me "Oakland's avant-jazz virtuoso" (Brad Cohan, Village Voice), "a versatile and virtuosic guitarist" (The San Francisco Film Society), "a wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but… equally adept with FX-less technique," (Lars Gotrich, A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz). I was recently named one of Guitar World‘s “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know”.

My main project these days is UNNATURAL WAYS .

PERFORMED/RECORDED WITH:

Scott Amendola (Nels Cline Singers, Charlie Hunter Quartet), Liz Allbee, Vijay Anderson, Bran(...)pos, Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Sheldon Brown, Tony Buck (The Necks), members of Caroliner, Nels Cline (Wilco), George Cremaschi, Tim Dahl (Child Abuse, Lydia Lunch), J.A. Deane, Marco Di Gasbarro (Squartet), John Dikeman (Cactus Truck), Thomas Dimuzio, Shayna Dunkleman, Marco Eneidi, Luc Ex, Ben Goldberg, Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre), Vinny Golia, Phillip Greenlief, Franz Hautzinger, Jacob Felix Heule, Devin Hoff (Good for Cows), Gerri Jager (Knaalpot), Darren Johnston, Henry Kaiser (Crazy Backwards Alphabet), Annette Krebs, Thollem McDonas, Lisa Mezzacappa, Butch Morris, Matt Nelson, Hexlove aka Zac Nelson, Kanoko Nishi, Nick Podgurski (Extra Life), Porest aka Mark Gergis, Gino Robair, Aram Shelton, John Shiurba, SF Sound, Damon Smith, Moe! Staiano, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Raphael Vanoli (Knaalpot), Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers), Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE), Wobbly (Negativland), Tune-yards, William Winant (Mr. Bungle), Kenny Wollesen (Sex Mob), Theater of Yugen, dancers Leyya Mona Tawil, Yuko Kaseki, and Manuela Tessi."

-Ava Mendoza Website (http://avamendozamusic.com/bio.html)
2/21/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Sun Gun 6:09

2. New Ghosts 5:42

3. Ampulex Compressa 5:54

4. Apart From 9:31

5. Don't Look 6:53

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Rock and Related
Improvised Rock
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Guitarists, &c.
Solo Artist Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Relative Pitch.


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