Geoff Farina is probably best known for the abstract lyrics and genre-flouting guitar style he developed over his 12 years with Karate, or as one-half of The Secret Stars, the seminal early-90s duo that passed around home-made cassettes of songs now covered by the likes of Ida and Death Cab for Cutie. More recently Geoff has composed original film music for Cinamazero’s annual Schermo Sonoro festival in Pordenone Italy, and is currently part of the Roman punk/folk group called Ardecore, or “Burning Heart,” a theme taken from one of the traditional Roman folk songs they perform. His music has also appeared in films such as Staccato Purr of the Exhaust, a film featured in the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, and Andrew Gillis’ 2000 film Security, Colorado, the 24th film produced under the constraints of the Danish Dogme 95 Manifesto. Geoff is currently involved in a Clarkson University project to preserve an archive of concert recordings engineered by Juma Sultan, one-time percussionist with Jimmy Hendrix. The project recently won a National Endowment for the Arts “Access to Artistic Excellence” grant, and will preserve concert recordings of Sam Rivers, Albert Ayler, Pharoh Sanders, Sonny Murray, James Ulmer, and other now-legendary improvising musicians of the late-60s and early-70s.
But Geoff is first and foremost a creative musician. In the past 15 years, he has composed for and performed on over 35 recordings, and performed more than 1000 concerts in 20 countries at events ranging from Denmark’s Roskilde Festival to MTV Europe’s Supersonic. Geoff has collaborated with many musicians and groups including Michael Zerang, Zu, Chris Brokaw, Dan Littleton, Luther Gray, Nathan McBride, Allan Chase, Taylor Ho Bynum, Rebecca Gates, performance artist Jed Speare, visual artist Jodi Buonanno, and dancer Alissa Cardone. Geoff has been featured in New Music Express, Mojo, Spex, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Guitar One, La Repubblica, and was recently interviewed by Neal Conan on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation.
Geoff earned a BA from Berklee College of Music and an MA from the University of Massachusetts, where he wrote his Master’s thesis on the history of consumer analog synthesizers. He has studied with Guggenheim fellow Roswell Rudd and guitar virtuoso Ben Monder. Geoff has worked as an assistant to Bill Finnegan, designer of the Klon Centaur overdrive pedal, and he also writes about guitars and guitar-related hardware for Tape Op magazine. His early articles on amplifier modification were recently anthologized in a book called Tape Op: The Book About Creative Music Recording.
From 1998 until 2006, Geoff lived and worked at the Narragansett Grange Hall, an artist space he co-owned with visual artist/musician/band-mate Jodi Buonanno. Geoff and Jodi purchased and renovated the historic public building in 1998 by way of a HUD program designed to convert historic buildings that would otherwise be destroyed. The Grange Hall became home to a number of large studio spaces including a painting studio and a project-recording studio, along with plenty of living space. For 7 years Geoff and Jodi provided inexpensive living and studio space to an annual artist-in-residence who needed these resources to persue a specific project. Past residencies include photographers Patrick Graham and Melanie Standage, and artists Ron Rege and Ida Pearle.
Geoff Farina is probably best known for the abstract lyrics and genre-flouting guitar style he developed over his 12 years with Karate, or as one-half of The Secret Stars, the seminal early-90s duo...
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