Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Wolfman

I fancy myself a person of mainstream tastes. I do not seek out of the way stuff for its own sake. It does seem to me to be completely mainstream to want to hear something a bit unusual now and then, just for a change. I like stuff that succeeds on its own terms and I think this piece does that. Its full version builds from a quiet start but this edit just jumps in at the good bit. I have listened to this piece quite a few times and always find it relaxing. There is a consistency to the intensity of conception and performance so that, although dissonant, the piece does not jar or unsettle.

This is a recording of a performance piece from 1964 by the composer Robert Ashley who is more famous for much quieter pieces. The performer is a jaded nightclub singer who exhales lengthy notes into a heavily overloaded PA system resulting in a 15 minute feedback holocaust. It must have been awesome to experience live. Seriously, I do not understand how anyone could not appreciate and enjoy this.

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