Saturday, January 27, 2007

La Monte Young-The Black Record, LP, 1969, USA (NWW list!)

La Monte Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer, commonly seen as the first minimalist composer and one of the four most celebrated leaders of the minimalist school, along with Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley, despite having little in common formally with Glass and Reich.
His works have been included among the most important and radical post World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and "minimal" compositions question the nature and definition of music, and often stress elements of performance
Born to a Mormon family in Bern, Idaho, his family moved several times in his childhood while his father searched for work before settling in Los Angeles, California. He studied at Los Angeles City College, and came out ahead of Eric Dolphy in a saxophone audition for the school's jazz band. In LA's jazz milieu, he also played alongside notable musicians like Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Billy Higgins.
He undertook further studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), then at the University of California, Berkeley. then the summer courses at Darmstadt under Karlheinz Stockhausen and finally electronic music with Richard Maxfield. Over this period he concentrated on composition, influenced by Anton Webern, Gregorian chant, and various music of other cultures — including Indian classical music and Indonesian gamelan music.
A number of Young's early works use the twelve tone technique, which he studied under Leonard Stein at UCLA. (Stein had served as an assistant to Arnold Schoenberg when Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone method, had taught at UCLA.) When Young visited Darmstadt he encountered the music and writings of John Cage. There he also met Cage's collaborator, pianist David Tudor, subsequently gave premiers of some of Young's works. At Tudor's suggestion, Young engaged in a correspondence with Cage. Within a few months Young was presenting some of Cage's music on the West Coast; in turn Cage and Tudor included some of Young's works in performances throughout the U.S. and Europe. By this time Young had taken a turn toward the conceptual, using principles of indeterminacy in his compositions and incorporating non-traditional sounds, noises, and actions.
When Young moved to New York in 1960, he had already established a reputation as an enfant terrible of the avant garde. He initially developed an artistic relationship with Fluxus founder George Maciunas (with whom he published a text titled An Anthology) and other members of the nascent movement. Yoko Ono, for example, hosted a series of concerts curated by Young at her loft, and absorbed, it seems, his often parodistic and politically charged aesthetic. Young's works of the time, scored as short haiku-like texts, though conceptual and extreme, were not meant to be merely provocative but, rather, dream-like.
His Compositions 1960 includes a number of unusual actions; some of them are unperformable, but each deliberatively examines a certain presupposition about the nature of music and art and carries ideas to an extreme. One instructs: "draw a straight line and follow it" (a directive which he has said has guided his life and work since). Another instructs the performer to build a fire. Another states that "this piece is a little whirlpool out in the middle of the ocean." Another says the performer should release a butterfly into the room. Yet another challenges the performer to push a piano through a wall. Composition 1960 #7 proved especially pertinent to his future endeavors: it consisted of a B, an F#, a perfect fifth, and the instruction: "To be held for a long time."
In 1962 Young wrote The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. One of The Four Dreams of China, the piece is based on four pitches, which he later gave as the frequency ratios: 36-35-32-24 (G, C, +C#, D), and limits as to which may be combined with any other. Most of his pieces after this point are based on select pitches, played continuously, and a group of long held pitches to be improvised upon. For The Four Dreams of China Young began to plan the "Dream House", a light and sound installation where musicians would live and create music twenty-four hours a day. He formed The Theater of Eternal Music to realize "Dream House" and other pieces. The group initially included Marian Zazeela (who has provided the light work The Ornamental Lightyears Tracery for all performances since 1965), Angus MacLise, and Billy Name. In 1964 the ensemble contained Young and Zazeela, voices — Tony Conrad (a former Mathematics major at Havard) — John Cale strings — and sometimes Terry Riley, voice. Since 1966 the group has seen many permutations and has included, at various times, Garrett List, Jon Hassell, Alex Dea, and many others, including members of the 60s groups. Young has realized the "Theater of Eternal Music" only intermittently, due to a lack of funding for such an expensive project, requiring extensive and exceptional demands of time in rehearsal and mounting.
Most realizations of the piece have long titles, such as The Tortoise Recalling the Drone of the Holy Numbers as they were Revealed in the Dreams of the Whirlwind and the Obsidian Gong, Illuminated by the Sawmill, the Green Sawtooth Ocelot and the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. His works, too are often of extreme length, conceived by Young as having no beginning and no end, existing before and after any particular performance. In practical terms, too, Young and Zazeela are also on an extended sleeping-waking schedule – with "days" longer than twenty-four hours.
Beginning in 1970 interests in Asian classical music and a wish to be able to find the intervals he used by ear led to studies with Pandit Pran Nath. Fellow students included calligrapher and light artist Marian Zazeela; composers Terry Riley and Yoshi Wada; philosophers Henry Flynt and C.C. Hennix, and many more.
Young considers The Well Tuned Piano — a permutating composition of themes and improvisations for just-intuned solo piano — to be his masterpiece. Performances have exceeded six hours in length, and so far have been documented twice: first on a five-CD set issued by Grammavision, then on a DVD by Young's own Just Dreams label (a later performance). One of the defining works of American musical minimalism, it is strongly influenced by mathematical composition as well as Hindustani classical music practice.
Together Young and Zazeela have realized a long series of semi-permanent "Dream Houses" — combining Young's just-intuned sine waves in elaborate, symmetrical configurations and Zazeela's quasi-calligraphic light sculptures — in long-term installations. The effect is highly modernistic and deeply sensual, utilizing aspects of the viewer/auditor's perception to create an extraordinarily refined sensory overload, within a physical space which is barely defined. Like his work of the 60s and 70s, when he was at his most playful, his installations with Zazeela remain alarmingly psychedelic.
La Monte Young's use of long tones and exceptionally high volume has been extremely influential — notably on John Cale's contribution to The Velvet Underground's sound — and with Young's associates: Tony Conrad, Jon Hassell, Rhys Chatham, Michael Harrison, Henry Flynt, Charles Curtis (musician), and Catherine Christer Hennix. Young's students also include Arnold Dreyblatt and Daniel James Wolf.
The album Dreamweapon: An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music by the band Spacemen 3 is influenced by La Monte Young's concept of "Dream Music," evidenced by their inclusion of his notes on the jacket.
Lou Reed mentions (and misspells) La Monte Young's name on the cover of his album Metal Machine Music: "Drone cognizance and harmonic possibilities vis a vis Lamont Young's Dream Music"
Drone rock pioneer Dylan Carlson has stated Young's work as being a major influence to him.
The Fall included a song called High Tension Line on their album Shift-Work. The chorus line is "High Tension Line - Step Down".
Aproach with respect!



musicgnome said...

I own 1000s of albums and this one of the few times I can say "Hey, I actually have that one!!!"

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

Just when I can't find this anywhere, you come through once again. Many thanks! - G

brian h said...

i like this a lot, but i don't respect it.

Chemical Cut said...


al66 said...

Mediafire link for this album:

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