There are moments in John Larsen songs where you’d swear there was some form of looping technology involved. But the Omaha instrumental guitarist employs a truly analog form layering, slapping a first coat of paint onto his resonantly tuned songs, and then somehow doubling up on the high strings with riffs that recall baroque folk and metal/jazz fusion. But it’s all acoustic, palatable and — in person — a deep wash of exhibition and ambiance.
And before we go any further we should try and do justice to what you’d see John do if you were in the studio here with us. Performing two-handed tap guitar, Larsen will reach up around the neck of the instrument with his left hand, then hammering on and off the strings with both hands on the fretboard. Often, Larsen will employ a free hand for percussion on the body of the acoustic guitar, as well. If it sounds a little alien, it also looks a little alien — ten fingers clawing subtly across the frets in a motion extremely understated for the vast soundscapes they’re producing. They’re riffs that invoke the cosmos, ancient Eastern music, an impressionistic movie score or simply an unending trance.
You can see Larsen at The Waiting Room Monday the Jan. 12, and then twice on Jan. 16 at Reverb Lounge and Barley Street Tavern.