Back in the May 2014 issue of AG, we included Janet Noguera, then 19, as one of the best new acoustic guitarists under the age of 30. Since then, Noguera completed her classical guitar performance studies with Bill Coulter at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has developed her own imaginative voice on guitar—not just steel-string, but electric, bass, and harp, all of which are featured on her debut album, Myriad Worlds.
As a fingerstyle guitarist, Noguera plays in the percussive mold of players like Michael Hedges and Kaki King, and solo tracks like “Refuge” and “Mysterious Adventures 2.0” showcase her effortless-sounding use of tapping and drum-like effects on her Lowden and Maton guitars. In Noguera’s hands, these extended techniques never come across as gratuitous but always feel like an integral part of her compositions. And when she plays with more conventional technique, as on “Pink Clouds from a Skyscraper,” with its gently rolling arpeggios infused with cascading harmonics, Noguera is just as inventive.
The solo guitar tracks are interspersed with artfully layered pieces—like the dreamy overdubbed electric guitars on “Stardust” and the rich layers of acoustic and electric instruments on “Endless Journey”—which reveal the guitarist-composer’s gift for orchestration and for finding uncanny tonal colors. In a more traditional vein, the album ends with Noguera’s reading of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No.1.” Her arrangement for harp guitar is ingenious in the way it uses the instrument’s low bass strings and harmonics on the higher strings to capture the composition’s melancholic feeling—speaking to Noguera’s sound-seeking brilliance.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2022 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.