signal2noise -- an unprecedented 'power duo'
** W.A.S.P.'S LEAD GUITARIST DOUGLAS BLAIR IS SET TO UNLEASH HIS INNOVATIVE AND SLOWLY BUILDING 'POWER DUO' ON THE PUBLIC IN THE SUMMER OF 2020
signal2noise began as a 'power trio' in the US state of Connecticut in 1995, while Blair was experimenting with his Mutant Twin acoustic-electric double necks, and attempting to expand his trio's sound. One concept -- to allow his bassist to play simple guitar lines along with with his, became a reality in the form of the GuitarCross. Before it could be implemented in s2n however, Blair moved away towards Boston for a job in a guitar factory(Parker Guitars). Yet the creative direction of s2n had been conceived.
After settling near Boston, a veritable hotbed of original rock and diverse music -- fed by many colleges, Blair took on the challenge of mastering the GuitarCross himself. Along with a drummer named Mike, s2n as a power duo was born in an 8th floor South End Boston rehearsal room -- with quite noteworthy neighbors -- in 1998.
what the f is a "GuitarCross"??
** 'EXTENDED-RANGE' GUITARS AND BASSES HAVE BECOME UBIQUITOUS IN ROCK AND METAL, BUT THERE'S NOTHING QUITE LIKE THIS MONSTER
Paired-stringed instruments have been around for eons. The 12-string guitar and mandolin may be most common in present times, yet the 8- and 12-string electric bass guitars have had prominence with groups like Pearl Jam, Cheap Trick, King's X and others. Blair imagined an octave-stringed bass guitar in which the octave(guitar-tuned) strings could be separately amplified. This way, a bassist could also add guitar parts while still covering his bass lines.
This central concept has evolved into the 8-string GuitarCross: 3 bass strings with accompanying pairs, and two extra guitar-tuned strings. The string sets are controlled and amplified independently -- and Blair's already widely-diverse guitar rig is simply piggy-backed upon a bass rig. The ensuing wall of sound is unprecedented as well -- from a single instrument -- sans sampling, looping, synthesis or other digital trickery. Real fingers on real strings feeding real pickups -- and finding their way through modern programmable modeling amps and effects.
contributing musicians of many nationalities over the years...
** BLAIR HAS COLLABORATED WITH MANY TALENTED PARTNERS WITH s2n
Since 2001, Boston-area monster drummer/vocalist John Anthony worked with Blair fervently -- until the guitarist was reigned back into the W.A.S.P. camp in 2006. The duo honed their craft, writing dozens of songs -- as quickly as only collaborative pairs can -- and recorded numerous sessions, self-releasing the indie collection fighting mental illness in 2005. Both contributed musical, lyrical and vocal ideas and performances. Among highlights was opening a large concert for the US group Tesla.
Blair likens the process to building a massive wall of sound, and Anthony slicing it up with his percussion: a metaphor for signal to noise, which of course is the common audio term for the ratio between desired sound and noise.
Alongside W.A.S.P. work, Blair and Anthony continued loosely collaborating -- up until Blair moved to Finland in 2014. Anthony earned the enviable position of the drum seat with renowned Boston guitarist/singer Jon Butcher, with whom he still tours and records.
In Europe, Blair has been fine-tuning his GuitarCross instruments and Axe-FX modeling rig, with which he can travel easily. He has also been working with various talented drummers including Tuomo Latlava of Omnium Gatherum(FI), Tobias Martens formerly of Lord Of The Lost(DE), and presently Tuomas 'Toxy Cruz' Lehtonen of Santa Cruz(FI).
Other highlights have included a live performance of two songs with Drum God Craig Blundell of the Steven Wilson Band(UK) -- and hero Devin Townsend(CAN) using one of Blair's GXs in the studio on a track called MindWASP.
Blair is pumped to be working with Turku, FI's Matti Osterman of the rising techno-metal quartet Awake Again, and the talented Lotta Valtanen -- both of whom will contribute vocals in the studio. Jon Monroe, a former Boston-area guitar student -- who, as a teen, introduced Blair to the Finnish phenom H.I.M., and now produces movie scores in Los Angeles, CA for the likes of Hanz Zimmer -- will contribute orchestration.