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Nir Felder

Golden Age

Sony Masterworks | OKeh

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Nir Felder - Slower Machinery (from "Golden Age")
Rig Rundown: Nir Felder and Will Lee
Nir Felder - Guitar Power
Nir Felder Talks with NY1 / Golden Age release party@Le Poisson Rouge
Nir Felder plays the Supro Island Series Hampton Baritone in Djent Black
1 Lights
2 Bandits
3 Ernest / Protector
4 Sketch 2
5 Code
6 Memorial
7 Lover
8 Bandits II
9 Slower Machinery
10 Before the Tsars
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For guitarist Nir Felder, the song's the thing. His debut album Golden Age (OKeh), out January 21, puts his skills as a composer and songwriter at the forefront of his creative design, supported by virtuosic technique, not the other way around.

The guitarist recruited pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Nate Smith to help bring his unique musical vision to life.  "They are musicians who understand the bigger picture of a song, and approach a song as a song, not just as a vehicle to express their own virtuosity," explains Felder.

The album, as a whole, was not born of a concept, Felder notes. But the title does provide a unifying sentiment-one of ambiguity and duality. "The album is called Golden Age, and it's more of a question than a statement," he says. "We've seen a lot of change in recent years-in the music industry, in music technology, in our world, our country, and our city, New York. When I was writing this music, there was a lot of hope in the air, and excitement about change, but also a lot of insecurity and fear about the world post-2008 economic crisis. It looks bad for the arts in New York City at the moment, and some people are nostalgic for the 1980s and early '90s, when times were rough and unsafe but art and culture were flourishing. Was that a ‘golden age'' Is this one' Has there really ever been one' The question is always, according to whom' So, there is a lack of clarity about whether things are going great or they're really bad, and the music reflects that." 

To augment the band's instrumental take on those questions, Felder studied dozens of legendary speeches by politicians, civil rights leaders, and cultural heroes and mixed spoken-word samples from Mario Cuomo, Barbara Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Hilary Clinton, Malcolm X, Richard Nixon, Lou Gehrig, Elie Wiesel, William Jennings Bryan, Russell Conwell, and others into "Lights" and "Sketch." The results are sweeping, cinematic impressions of history brought into the present moment.

Felder, a native of Katonah, New York, began playing guitar at 13. In the beginning, it was the blues that drew him to jazz: Albert King, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan-three masters of tone, with an exciting sound and the tradition of storytelling in their playing. Felder initially bought a $250 Mexican Stratocaster and put heavy strings on it "like Stevie Ray did." He has played it ever since. Except for the acoustic guitar on "Bandits II," that Strat is the only guitar on Golden Age. 

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