Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Orchestrated chaos

Monday brought news of the death of a maverick whose music is largely unfamiliar to me but to whom I nevertheless owe an eternal debt of gratitude. Put simply, if it wasn't for Glenn Branca, Sonic Youth would never have existed.

Not only did the band take Branca's avant-garde guitar pieces and attempt to reimagine how they might sound if brought within the conventional rock idiom, but Branca actually introduced Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo to one another, both of them having contributed to performances of his work.

Ranaldo was one of the first to pay tribute to the composer (along with At The Drive-In's Cedric Bixler Zavala and Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons and Blanck Mass), referring to his work as "the most radical, intelligent response to punk and the avant garde I'd ever seen". Moore, for his part, paid a kind of pre-emptive tribute, with the performance of the Galaxies 12 x 12-string acoustic/electric guitar concert at the Barbican last month, which featured his bandmates Deb Googe and James Sedwards as well as Rachel Aggs (Sacred Paws/Trash Kit/Shopping).

Here's a Pitchfork interview from 2016 in which Branca talks about his philosophy and his work.

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