Ken Rubenstein is a self taught guitarist and composer originally from New Jersey, now living in California. In the past, Ken has received praise from such publications as Guitar Player Magazine. In fact, he was the last and perhaps most controversial International Soundpage Winner for Guitar Player Magazine, featured in the October '91 issue. He was the recipient of the prestigious New Jersey Council on the Arts Composer's Fellowship in 1995 and has been a Composer in Residence for the internationally acclaimed and highly competitive New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Workshop in New York City.
Ken Rubenstein Blog
By home, 2015-01-22
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Tell us about your recording studio.
Well, there are tons of wires and things. I have attached a pdf of how it's wired. The bottom line is that all signals end up routed through a old Soundcraft Spirit mixing board into an old VF160 Fostex standalone multitrack. I use lots of midi, all coordinated with a Behringer FCB1010 which has been pretty heavily programmed. But I don't sequence and I don't use a computer.
Where do you come by the expression of Eastern modes in your music?
I listen to so much international music, that it's just very deeply embedded in my brain, at this point. I love Indian music very much (Carnatic and Hindustani), as well as Bulgarian, Irish, Scottish, Turkish , Chinese Pipa, Japanese Koto, Vietnamese traditional and so on. Honestly, very often timbre will dictate what ends up happening harmonically. Pitch bend by means of the tremolo bar and pedals sort of makes things sound a bit more authentic.
Tell us about making the "Invert and Transcend" track.
That's one of my favorite tracks. It came out good. Charlie Zeleny and Wendy Parker sound very good on that tune. It's complex, but very songy. Truthfully, it was initially inspired by Shakti's "Lady L", but then went off into La La land. Charlie is so important to my music, now. I think he is an exceptional musician. We tracked Charlie's parts at Colin Marston's studio in Brooklyn. I sort of conducted/counted him out for that very last section of the tune.
You stike me as a student of guitar. What is your focus on these days?
I just love music, Bryan. Sadly, I am mostly restricted to guitar based tunes. I wish I was less anchored down to the guitar. But it's sort of unavoidable. I always write with the guitar on my lap. My technique of playing is intrinsically connected to how I write. They kind of feed each other. My friend Mark Kissinger one time referred to it as a snake eating itself. These days, I am just trying to get better and write more elegant and sensible music.
Are you in the process of making of new album? Singular pieces?
Most definitely. I have all new material written for my next record. It's MUCH better than the Invert material. It usually takes me 12 centuries to get a CD done. But major changes are now taking place in my personal and professional life, which will help get things underway finally. I also occasionally collaborate through the Internet with friends on standalone, Internet based songs.