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    A Glance at Tony Conrad

    August 3rd, 2008

    Tony Conrad + Alex Gelencser, 1998
    Tony Conrad and Alex Gelencser, 1998.

    The early bird, I mean minimalist catches, I mean gets the worm, I mean word in edgewise–or actually a lot of words in all over the lengthy liner notes of numerous LPs and CDs. Tony Conrad with Faust - Outside the Dream Syndicate Tony Conrad is one such large, flightless bird. From 1962 to 1965, he played violin in minimalist music founder La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music group, also known as the Dream Syndicate, which included La Monte and Marian Zazeela on drone vocals, John Cale on viola and Angus MacLise on percussion. Since La Monte’s been keeping the tapes “safe” in storage since the mid ’60s–for the most part denying access and copies to the other group members and the public at large–very few people outside of the original small audiences have ever heard what must have surely been the most searing, transporting drone music of all time. Practicing regularly, the group developed into the most awesome unit of 4:00 a.m. hover power. Perfect pitch, just intonation, long durations and massive amplification of the vocals, viola and percussion to tympanic membrane-cutting levels were some of the ingredients of this galaxy hub-bound stew.

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