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Bill Orcutt Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Grace Widyatmadja

"How loud can we be?" Bill Orcutt asked as his guitar quartet tuned their Telecasters and Jazzmasters for sound check. A wild deconstructionist whose catalog spans a splatter of hardcore punk, noise and electronic music, Orcutt has written and improvised on four-stringed guitars for four decades, culminating in the ecstatic minimalism of last year's Music for Four Guitars, each part played and dubbed over by himself.

At the Tiny Desk, however, Orcutt brought along a who's who of forward-thinking guitarists to perform these rowdy, giddy and shreddy pieces: Wendy Eisenberg, Ava Mendoza and Shane Parish, who transcribed the original recordings. From a frenzied hoedown ("Or from behind") and feedback-humming drone-pop ("In the rain") to something resembling Henry Cow playing Norwegian black metal ("In profile") and paradoxically Brutalist complexity ("Or head on"), each song is a short burst of finger-flicked frenzy.


  • "Or from behind"
  • "In the rain"
  • "At a distance" 
  • "In profile"
  • "Or head on" 

  •  Bill Orcutt: guitar
  •  Ava Mendoza: guitar
  •  Shane Parish: guitar
  •  Wendy Eisenberg: guitar

  • Producer: Lars Gotrich
  • Director/Editor: Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin 
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Sofia Seidel, Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame
  • Audio Assistant: Brian Jarboe
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Maia Stern, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Pilar Galván
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Lars Gotrich
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