Saturday, April 14, 2007

Music I Liked And Didn't - 4/14/07

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BRANCA, GLENN: Symphony Nos. 8 & 10 (The Mysteries) CD (Atavistic) - Atavistic’s recent repress of several titles from the catalog of avant-garde composer Glenn Branca caught my attention and renewed my interest in investigating more of his work. In addition to his more rock oriented work (The Ascension album and material from his groups Theoretical Girls and The Static), I already had a couple recordings of his symphonies, specifically numbers 3 and 6, so I decided to purchase the Symphony Nos. 8 & 10 (The Mysteries) CD. I’m certainly glad I did, too, as the four tracks on this release (two symphonies, each with two movements) contain some of his best work.

For this recording Branca assembled an orchestra consisting of a drummer, a bassist/keyboardist, and 8 guitarists. Together they create the trademark dense, yet still dynamic, wall of evolving riffs, drones, feedback, and tones (all propelled forward in many segments by simple, but relentless, percussion) on which Branca has built his reputation. It seems as though each movement gets more harsh and jarring as the album progresses and, personally, my favorite track was the sublime Second Movement of Symphony Number 8, which strikes the best balance between droning, shimmering walls of beautiful sound and raw power.

If you’re not yet aware of Branca, this CD might very well be a good place to begin your explorations, as these seminal recordings are also among his most “accessible” (if such a term can really be accurately applied to any of Branca’s compositions) work and, for better or worse, clearly influenced the development the “post-rock” movement made so popular in recent years by bands such as Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mono.

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Running Count For The Year

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