ULRICH JON ROTH - Wails In Wales Page 2
by Martin Popoff

So of course, on this album, which is split into two parts, The Phoenix (Concert Pieces) and The Dragon (Encores & Improvisations), you will hear much classical and rock band use of this instrument, which Uli further describes as "a seven string guitar which started out as a six string. It was the first guitar that had a whole range of extra frets at the top. That was in the early '80s. Thus, it enabled me to play really high notes, notes that went way beyond the normal spectrum of say a Strat-type electric guitar. It gave me the possibility to basically play in the entire violin register. I wouldn't say comfortably so, because it is still extremely hard to play up there on the guitar. It's way harder than doing it on the violin. But it is this register that I always felt was missing from my spectrum of things before. That's really the most important thing about the sky guitar, but later on there were a whole range of other things. For instance, we developed our own pickup with a very enhanced tonal spectrum and all sorts of things that I couldn't do before. I guess that's really what's important in a nutshell."

What is the six to eight month plan? Have you recorded anything since this album came out?

"No, I haven't recorded anything. But I've been busy on some orchestra work. Actually, this is wrong. I did record! There was a live recording and I haven't looked at it yet. But the main thing that happened during the last few months is that we did a concert in Germany with an orchestra and this was a three hour concert, quite a large scale concert. We played almost the entire Transcendental Sky Guitar, Volume 1, The Phoenix, with the orchestra. And then after the intermission we played the entire Vivaldi's Four Seasons, on the sky guitar. So I played the violin part note for note, which again is a first in terms of guitar playing. I mean, some people maybe have certainly tackled it, but not in the right pitch or the right key. And I left the string parts largely as they were, although I did change some of the bass lines. And then I wrote a full percussion score with timpani and tubular bells for it, and wrote actually, to top it all off, a big credenza which appears at the end, at 10 minute piece called 'Vivaldi Paraphrase', which brings back a lot of themes from the Four Seasons, and kind of looks at them in, let's say a 21st century way."

Will this be your next SPV album?

"Yes, it will be actually. It's going to form the main string of Transcendental Sky Guitar Volume 3. So we have recorded it, and I guess I start work on it in early January. It will take me probably about two months. I have to do a few more orchestra overdubs but I don't think it will be a lot of work really."

ULRICH JON ROTH - Wails In Wales Page 3