Combine the hauntingly beautiful sounds and guitar-work of Michael Hedges with Tool’s dark polyrhythms, and you start to get an idea of where Ernesto Schnack is coming from. His music is a blend of bittersweet melodies, polyethnic grooves and metal-influenced intensity, all channeled through one acoustic guitar.
Hailing originally from Panama, Ernesto has spent his last few years developing his unique musical voice while living in Berlin. His goal: to meld his love for metal and his composition studies at Berklee College of Music with his passion for the acoustic guitar. Released in 2011, his album A Work in Progress was the first step in that direction.
His arrangements of other songs, like “Forty-Six & 2” by Tool and the theme from the TV show Game of Thrones, also helped Ernesto hone his new sound, while also finding him a dedicated audience online through YouTube. His technically demanding yet moving renditions have been attracting and inspiring guitar fans from all over the world.
Which all leads to his new album Worldbuilding. Inspired by the imagery found in epic fantasy novels and comics, Worldbuilding is filled with melancholy melodies and ambient textures that grow into a full-on metal assault when you least expect it. The album closer, a cover of Tool’s “Right in Two,” perfectly encapsulates how Ernesto balances delicate fingerpicking with moments of raw aggression not often found in acoustic guitar music.
2014 should be a promising year for Ernesto. He’ll continue to promote his new album while simultaneously releasing more new music, both original songs and covers. His hope is to build on his new sound and take it in new directions.