SA11: The Ritual Issue

I am a soldier against chaos, but not by choice. Intellectually, I love the idea of entropy - all the energies of the world flying off in whatever direction strikes their fancy. My heart, however, is devoted to order. This is a friction I find myself treasuring in recent years. To add to the rub, I have spent a lot of quiet moments wondering about aspects of order and the, sometimes chaotic, ways in which they manifest in the lives of artistic individuals and culture in general. And in this, our eleventh issue of Sound American, I am using this line of inquiry to structure a set of conversations with, and writings by, a loose amalgam of thinkers and doers on the subject of order and one specific way in which it can manifest: the ritual.

 

The content of this issue is roughly broken out into two forms of ritual in which music or art can be engaged.

 

The first involves actions inherent in spiritual community or growth. As one would expect, I found the words ritual or rites used most commonly in the language of the church, synagogue, mosque, etc. Within this form there tends to be two broad ways in which music is used. The first is music created specifically for specialized ritual actions of religion, i.e. High Mass in the Catholic faith. The second is essentially a reverse of the first, meaning the music that was originally created for religious traditions being used as a central theme for secular variation, i.e. the use of Gregorian chant melodic material in certain variants of heavy metal.

 

The second form is the cultural or personal ritual. These modes can be more subtle and, in a way, more interesting to me as a musician. They are less rigidly articulated, and indicative of a societal moment in time. Some exist on a large scale, like the ritual of sport, and vary from culture to culture, while others may exist only with one person at a specific time, like the exercise plans or practice regimens. The different relationships to rites, repetition and, ultimately, order in these circumstances are the crux of my own line of questioning and therefore make up the bulk of this issue.

 

This less-than-chaotic approach to the topic is not reflected in the following issue, however, much to my great delight. Instead, as an editor, I put the above stated taxonomy of ritual forms into an ill-defined heap in the middle of my brain and allowed ideas to leach in out of the ether, as close as I can get to a kind of entropy. Finding people involved in the act of making music for religious ritual was central, of course, but there are contributors that work squarely in the worlds of cultural ritual as well. And, perhaps the most interesting are those whose work just has a feeling of ritual to it. The combination of these multiple viewpoints start to give a vague feeling of what ritual means to those who make: repetition, space, atmosphere, empathy.

 

The issue is broken out by format and we're proud to have new guest contributors as well. Scholar, choreographer, and performance artist Biba Bell uses the idea of ritual the starting point for an essay on space in modern performance. Burning Ambulance’s Phil Freeman gives an overview of ritual performance practice in some of the darker forms of metal music. And, in an epic display of grit and determination, trombonist and composer Chris McIntyre presents an aural exploration of ritualism in the Soho scene of the 1960s and 70s featuring interviews with Rhys Chatham, Charlemagne Palestine, Pauline Oliveros, Phill Niblock, and Jon Gibson!.

 

It is my sincere hope that we can all gather enlightenment from this joyously chaotic set of thoughts about how we view ritual and what part it plays in our lives as musicians and music lovers. Is it merely repetition? Is it creating a space? Is it something larger than us, or is it an expression of our smallest quirks? Is it dangerous or a place of comfort? Questioning ritual in our lives and in the music we experience is a convoluted process, but one that can take us into a wonderfully messy spiral of thought about ourselves, art, and culture.

Biba Bell on Dance as a Promiscuous Mode of Dwelling

Would You Like To Dance?

Setting the scene. Stepping onstage can feel like jumping off a cliff or swimming head-on into a hive of bees. The emptiness of the space hums with invisible electricity, a quiet before the storm. The house, awaiting the entrance of the performer, accentuates a visual silence that empty stage produces. Suspending the actions potentially initiated by this question to dance, the immersive edifice stands in the form of petrified silence.[1] Whether waiting in the wings or seated amongst the attentive audience, we are reminded of the stillness that sits behind an action, a bevy of ghosts waiting to be unleashed within a maelstrom of vibrating gazes. The price of admission to this dance is the agreement to occupy a particular space, to participate within a ritualized act of looking and place-ing bodies on display. To enter this space is to turn and face, en-face, the site of the stage… a turn towards the public or one’s partner or one’s past or one’s building desire.

 

 

“Would you like to dance?”

 

 

I turn.

 

 

Who me?

 

 

The question does something; it moves me. Cloaking intimacy, it asks to take off a hat and a coat and stay awhile.

 

An image of an outstretched hand and a glimmering eye, I rise to meet my response. There is always a pause, a leap, and a moment before a recovery. The body speeds forth without revealing its direction like the intoxicating spin of the roulette wheel. Then, suddenly, the room is filled with dancers and sweat and stank. How many hours have we been here? How many drinks have we had?

 

A ritualized space is a “sequestered place,” writes anthropologist Victor Turner. Within the autonomy of an isolated, hidden, possessed place the symbolic “molecules” of ritual and the “stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects” are distinct and enabled.[2] It is a space for the “hardening” of practice and the emergence of performance (as twice-behaved).[3]  Perhaps we could think of choreography in relation to the volume of this ritualized place, organizing bodies in space and time along the lines of what Brian Massumi and Erin Manning call an “enabling constraint.” Enabling dancing… what are the chances a dancer will agree to stay in place? Jacques Derrida states, “The most innocent of dances would thwart the assignation à residence […] the dance changes place and above all changes places.”[4] Imagine now Bruce Nauman’s Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up, and Face Down. A man lies on the floor, fifteen minutes pass. What happens? Moving in place, the ground shifts from which the image springs.

Bruce Nauman, Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up, and Face Down (1973)

From seated to standing to dancing, how frequent is this action performed? How many people are making the moves at this very moment? Whether filled with elation or excruciatingly awkward, the transition requires an energy of abandon—of throwing or diving or leaping—a quick and directed choreographic act of immersion. Like the visceral impact of falling in love, a great jolt of (altered) consciousness. Still indistinguishable from lust, this inaugural movement marks a time before intimacy’s landscape of peaks and valleys, deserts and caves, can be mapped through the repetition of gestures, the affective rhythms of audible exhalations, or the tendency to follow a wayward glance. Responding to this call to dance, choreographer Boris Charmatz exclaims, you must, inexorably, “suddenly throw yourself into matter.” [5]

 

 “Would you like to dance?”

 

Martha Graham sat in her dressing room, inserting Isamu Noguchi hair ornaments into her ravenous up-do and famously states that it takes ten years to make a dancer. (From sitting to standing to dancing, a dancer does make.)

Martha Graham, A Dancer's World  (1957)

I have spent over three decades cultivating a daily studio practice. I find space on the beach, a deck, a driveway, handball or basketball courts, Veterans Memorial and Grange Halls, a garage. There are positions (in addition to first, second, or third) that succeed at harboring a well of lived experience. A posture, stance, or basic orientation is means of indexing memory. Assume the stance to crystalize the archetype. The body becomes its own landing site: that softening of quadriceps and release of the back of the pelvis laying with your legs up the wall, the direct gaze into the rafters that accompanies a supine position where, on the floor, hours can be spent breathing and shifting and dropping; the feel of a stance at the right spot at the barre, with water bottle or coffee cup, various sized balls or therabands adjacent, and room enough to shed a sweatshirt, legwarmer or towel without congesting one’s will to battement en quartre; or, a space orients in relation to a mirror or a sense of front or an invisible audience or one’s own body image. Maybe there’s a window, a heater, a water fountain. Maybe there’s a musician. Maybe there’s a friend or an idol or a stranger. Maybe the room is filled with bodies; maybe it is filled with thoughts and emotions. The repeated action differs daily as does one’s relationship to a technical regime, a social atmosphere, or stamina, energy and desire. Each of these moments can be marked by entry into a ritualized space. Even a laptop screen, a Skype session, a run, a bath, a coffee shop can provide this ritualized space. The search for dance’s sequestered place turns dancers and choreographers into nomads who momentarily set up camp (to make or rehearse a dance) as they migrate between residencies, theaters, studios, cities, countries, and continents. Thwarting its assignation à residence, this dancing (at the same time) can be a mode of finding one’s way home.

 

“Would you like to dance?”

 

For Laura Kipnis, in her essay “Adultery,” this is the quintessential question to pave the way toward infidelity. Kipnis focuses on the affair as a space for rediscovering intimacy and the desire to move, at the same time that it critiques and disavows the institution of marriage predicated on property and surplus economies of labor. To enter this dance would mean to step outside of the sanctified domain of marriage, re-charting journeys toward intimacy.[6] I have less interest in how such an invitation relates to the possibility of adulterous acts between individuals and their arrangements/agreements than in how it supports a promiscuous and newly charted sense of place. I am interested in how dancing provokes transformative openings, puncturing its domesticating edifice and radically redistributing its mise en scène. This mode of dancing is of the affair. It is to step outside of the house. It is to consider the ways that bodies move through space and create desire paths. In conversation with Trisha Brown, Jane Crawford, Roselee Goldberg, Alanna Heiss, Lydia Yee, and the ghost of Gordon Matta-Clark, Laurie Anderson quips, “That’s the key – the floor. No stage.”[7]

desire paths, Detroit (2009) www.sweet-juniper.com

Rather than staying at home, a dancer’s task is to engage with a continuous movement of finding their way, of developing a keenly acute set of what Sara Ahmed localizes as “homing device” practices. “We learn what home means, or how we occupy space at home and as home, when we leave home.”[8] The very building blocks of home as a sanctified place begin to tremble and shift. (Look close and witness the fall of the house of Usher, for Robert Smithson an architectural equivalent of the studio whose crumbling liberates art from the bondage of craft and the periling snares of creativity.) To enter this mode of dancerly dwelling is to enter a trans-geo-choreography that steps bodies outside of conjugal, material confines. An adulterous relation to place, this is a diasporic dancer, exceeded what Jane M. Jacob’s calls “monogamous modes of dwelling,” where, following Heidegger, dwelling involves a type of belonging to buildings, a belonging to place. One… two… three… and dance’s ritualized place changes places; it multiples and becomes radically open.

 

“Would you like to dance?”

 

Right now I am making a dance in my apartment. Finding my way home, I invest time and body each day into a one bedroom Mies Van der Rohe high-rise. The exterior walls are all windows, floor to ceiling. A perpetual theater, outside and inside take turns on the stage and then lock gazes. Suspended, the world spreads out to expose the illusion of my adopted interior where every surface is painted with a slight variation on Giorgio Armani’s pseudo-luxurious, signature color, greige. A yearlong project in three parts, two weeks from tomorrow the public will enter the house and the performance will begin, again.

Biba Bell, It Never Really Happened, Detroit (2014)

Rather than consider this dancing “site specific,” I prefer to think of it as playfully accentuating dance’s promiscuous modes of dwelling. And that initial question, a proposal to cross the threshold into this place of promiscuous dancing, is a structure of ritual itself. You never know where the lightning will strike: activist, dancerly impulses erupt in crowds of social and political unrest or amongst neighborhood games on suburban lawns; they pop up in cloistered garden parties or down the aisles of Youtube sensation wedding processions; exploratory footsteps fall to the beat at gallery openings or shuffle along through museum blockbuster exhibitions; and, libidinous rhythms cancel out traffic noise in living room theaters or sway the night away on clubroom floors. To respond to the force of this time- and place-less call is to dance a joyful seduction.

 

[1] Juhani Pallasmaa, in his essay on “Acoustic Intimacy,” writes that architecture, as “the art of petrified silence,” helps to connect us with a slower, durational sense of time. But in this case, I wonder if, in the theater, this relationship between silence and petrification is instead a collapse or suspension of time adjacent to its continuum. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Hoboken: Wiley, 2005), 51-52.

 

[2] Victor Turner, “Symbols in African ritual,” in Symbolic Anthropology: A Reader in the Study of Symbols and Meanings, edited by J. L. Dolgin, D. S. Kemnitzer and D. M. Schneider (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), 183-194.

 

[3] Richard Schechner, Between Theater & Anthropology (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), 36.

 

[4] Jacques Derrida and Christie V. McDonald, “Choreographies,” in Jacques Derrida, Points: Interviews, 1974-1994 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 69.

 

[5] Added emphasis. Boris Charmatz and Isabelle Launay, Undertraining: On a Contemporary Dance, trans Anna Preger (Dijon: Presses du Réel, 2011), 206.

 

[6] Laura Kipnis, “Adultery,” in Intimacy, ed. Lauren Berlant (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 9.

 

[7] Laurie Anderson, “All Work, All Play,” in Laurie Anderson Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene (New York: Prestel, 2011), 80.

 

[8] Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 9.

Phil Freeman on Rock and Metal

The Role (Or Lack Thereof) Of Ritual In Rock And Metal

The phrase “live ritual” has become the subject of much mockery of late among music critics specializing in metal. Common in press releases, it’s a new term for what used to be called “tour dates,” and it’s presumably meant to imply that what will be going on in this barnlike club, or the back room of that dive bar, will be more than just a metal show—it will be an evocation of the demonic, an eruption of eldritch power conveyed via roaring guitars and thundering drums.

 

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Rock shows are just that—shows. Still, the conflation of live music and spiritual transcendence is something that’s been common practice in metal and hard rock for over 40 years, and it’s unlikely to go away.

 

What’s funny about this, of course, is that there are many ritualistic elements to the presentation of live rock music. Some are imposed by technology and the nature of the form, others by the desires of the audience itself. For example, rock bands tend to maintain the same set list from night to night, because lighting cues, pyrotechnics, etc. are all preprogrammed—the computer’s going to beam a spotlight at a certain corner of the stage at a certain time, whether the guitarist is there to take his solo or not. Similarly, with a narrow window available for between-song banter, the singer’s remarks to the crowd are often scripted to an “[INSERT CITY HERE]” degree. Then there’s the ritual of the encore, during which the band leaves the stage, the lights stay dark, and the audience pretends not to know that five minutes later, the band will return to play two or three more songs. Sometimes there are rituals specific to one band; for example, if you attend an Iron Maiden concert, hearing the UFO song “Doctor Doctor” over the PA is your cue to find your seat—it’s always the last song played before Maiden takes the stage.

 

There have been a few bands that have really attempted to get serious about turning their recordings and performances into spiritual events, though. The first prominent example of hard rock and occult ritual truly crossing paths was Coven. A competent psychedelic blues-rock band with a compelling female singer (Jinx Dawson, whose voice had a barbed edge that elevated the somewhat singsong vocal melodies), their 1969 debut album was called Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls. That title makes it seems more like a warning than an enticement, but in fact, Coven’s songs were about as pro-witchcraft as it was possible to be without having Dawson straight-up sing “I’m a witch and it’s awesome.” The album’s third track, “Coven In Charing Cross,” actually stops the music twice in order to make room for imitation-liturgical chanting.

 

But it’s the final cut on Witchcraft… that has kept Coven’s name alive into the 21st Century. “Satanic Mass” is exactly what it claims to be—it’s a 13-minute ceremony, featuring more chanting and invocations recited in hilariously dramatic tones by what sounds like a Hollywood voice-over artist. It’s a deeply goofy track, soaked in reverb like an old-time radio drama, with echoing footsteps as the “Satanists” cross the “worship space,” bells, brainwashed-sounding chants from the bandmembers, et cetera. It’s difficult to decide whether it was intended as an audio documentary of what Satanic rituals were like, or something occult-minded teens could recite along with the album in their basements, between bong hits and Ouija board sessions.

 

Few bands have been willing to receive the torch from Coven in the intervening decades. Elements of the theatrical have been part of hard rock and metal stagecraft in almost too many ways to count, of course; notable examples would include: the giant crosses adorning Black Sabbath’s stage; Alice Cooper’s nightly staged execution; Marilyn Manson’s onstage lectern, from which he would showily tear pages from the Bible and toss them into the crowd; GWAR’s gory disembowelments of figures of pop-cultural note, including the Pope; and many more.

 

But these and other similar examples, despite their occasional, and never more than superficial, occult over- or undertones, are no more than set dressing. The music, in many cases, has no occult or ritualistic feel or intention. (Indeed, it’s one of the great ironies of rock history that Black Sabbath has a reputation as an occult band, when even a cursory reading of their lyrics reveals them to be rather overtly Christian.) Very few modern acts have combined occult subject matter and a theatrical approach in a manner could truly be called ritualistic. Some of the ones that have come closest are Gorgoroth, Marduk, Watain, Sunn O))) and Ghost (aka Ghost B.C.).

 

Gorgoroth, Marduk, and Watain are all black metal bands, sharing similar sonic characteristics (lots of tremolo guitar picking, extremely fast and driving rhythms, and vocals delivered in extremely harsh tones, whether a piercing screech or a guttural growl). But beyond those similarities, there’s a lot of room for individual variation.

 

Watain are probably the most rock ’n’ roll of the four; their latest album features acoustic guitars and other more traditional elements. They also have the most fearsome live reputation at the moment, because their shows are a multi-sensory assault. There’s the ferocious volume, of course, but there’s also an olfactory element. Watain have brought animal carcasses onstage with them, and hurled pig’s blood into the audience. Their stage costumes are blood-soaked, and buried (reportedly in graveyards) between gigs. More importantly, they claim to be theistic Satanists—meaning that they worship Satan as a deity, rather than taking the more philosophical [Anton] Laveyan approach, which uses Satan as a foundational metaphor for a kind of radical individualism. During a 2014 performance in Brooklyn, vocalist Erik Danielsson brought a sort of skull/goblet onstage from which he drank blood, then hurled the rest of the blood at the members of the audience, some of whom vomited at the smell.

 

Marduk’s vocalist, Mortuus, has also engaged in onstage blood-drinking. When I saw them live in 2008, the band took the stage in a highly ritualized manner, with an ominous intro tape playing as the guitarist and bassist entered and stood facing their amplifiers, backs turned to the crowd until they launched into the first song. Midway through the set, Mortuus brought a goblet of blood onstage and drank from it, making sure plenty dripped down his chin and chest. It was more like something a professional wrestler might do to rile up the crowd before a match than anything truly evil.

 

Gorgoroth have combined aggressive orthodox Satanism with Nietzschean philosophy—their 1998 album was called Destroyer, or About How to Philosophize with the Hammer, and their 2003 release was called Twilight of the Idols. In 2004, they recorded a live concert in a Polish TV studio, at which the stage was decorated with sheep heads on stakes, banners superimposing a goat’s head on a pentagram, torches, and nude models tied to crosses. The band was detained for violating Polish anti-blasphemy and animal rights laws, though no charges were brought against them. (The concert’s promoter was fined because he knew of the illegality of what they were doing, and neither informed them nor stopped them.) The footage of the concert was confiscated by the Polish police, and not released for several years; it finally emerged on DVD in 2008, under the title Black Mass Krakow 2004, and can be seen on YouTube

 

Sunn O))) are not a black metal band, though they collaborated with Xasthur and Wrest, two prominent black metal vocalists, on their Black One album, released in 2005. The group’s core members are Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley; they invite various guest vocalists and instrumentalists into their world for performances and recording sessions. Their music began as a kind of maximalist minimalism: loud, sustained feedback drones and downtuned, distorted, extremely slow guitar riffs that fell somewhere between Black Sabbath and Glenn Branca. Over the course of dozens of releases, their work has grown more expansive, incorporating vocals, keyboards, strings, horns, percussion, and whatever else a given piece requires, and they’ve become prolific collaborators, making entire albums with Japan’s Boris, Norway’s Ulver, and most recently British singer-songwriter Scott Walker.

 

Their live performances have always been very different from their studio work, though, and have always had a ritualistic feel. The group members wear long, hooded robes, hiding their faces, and the stage is covered in smoke and dry ice, at times rendering them nearly invisible. When I saw them at the tiny downtown venue Tonic, they took the stage in a silent processional through the audience. The music seemed intended to create a meditative state in the listeners through extreme volume and powerful low frequencies; it had more in common with recordings of tones meant to realign one’s chakras than with metal.

 

Perhaps the most extreme case of music taking on the trappings of ritual, though, is the band Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the US for legal reasons). Like Sunn O))), all the members wear hooded robes and hide their faces, with one exception: their vocalist, known as Papa Emeritus. He dresses like a Catholic Pope, complete with pointed hat, and wears a mask that makes him look like he’s in his sixties. I attended their first New York performance, in 2010; they proceeded to the stage swinging an incense burner, as though beginning a Mass. And though their music is highly melodic hard rock, somewhere in the neighborhood of Blue Öyster Cult, the lyrics are as Satanic as any black metal band’s.

 

But in every one of these cases, even Ghost’s, there’s still a stark separation between the music and the visual trappings. These bands are not hosting Black Masses—they’re playing rock shows. As a consequence, what’s happening cannot be truly described as ritual music. The songs themselves serve no greater purpose than entertainment. And just as nobody goes to church just to hear the music (and if they did, it would be viewed as grotesque cultural tourism), nobody’s going to see Watain, Sunn O))) or Ghost to get a spiritual tune-up. There is only one group that I know of that can legitimately claim to be performing ritual music in a rock context: Sabbath Assembly.

 

Initially a duo, Sabbath Assembly have expanded their roster on each album, bringing in guest instrumentalists to fill out the sound and give it the grandeur they require. Unlike all of the aforementioned groups, who perform rock songs as part of a show that includes theatrical displays intended to remind onlookers of religious rites, Sabbath Assembly first came together to play actual hymns: specifically, hymns written by members of the 1960s cult The Process Church of the Final Judgment.

 

The Process (as it was known) was a group formed by ex-Scientologists who worshipped Christ, Lucifer and Satan, and believed all three would be reconciled—good and evil becoming one—at the end of the world. On their debut album, Restored to One, Sabbath Assembly arranged and recorded hymns of the church, in a unique style that combined gospel, psychedelic rock, country and soul. The performances have little to do with metal, or extravagant theatricality; they are subdued and seemingly sincere. Indeed, on their follow-up, Ye Are Gods, they took a page from Coven’s book—the entire album was an audio version of a Process Church mass, including a sermon.

 

I saw Sabbath Assembly perform in New York in 2010; somewhat ironically, they were supporting Ghost. This turned the show into something of a coming together of faiths, the overt Satanism of the headliners heralded by the more esoteric cosmology of the openers. And it provided definitive proof, as if any were needed, that ritual music, when performed at a rock show for a paying audience that does not share the underlying belief system, becomes entertainment and nothing more. No one was drawn into the embrace of the Process Church that night; the majority of the audience probably had no idea of the significance of the songs they were hearing. As long as tickets are being sold and the uninitiated are permitted into the room, attempts to blend spiritual ritual and rock/metal can never be anything more than kitsch.

Chris McIntyre On Ritualism in the Soho scene, Late 60’s and 70’s

Especially in the context of ritualism, using the term “Minimalist” for the composers included in this audio “image” is simply inaccurate. Roundly abhorred by those most commonly labelled as such, there is very little in the material of artists like Phill Niblock and Charlemagne Palestine that warrants such a precise and problematic moniker.

 

While it is practically meaningless, there were and are meaningful connections between these musicians and the visual artists grouped under the same term (as well as a few so-called “Post-Modernists”.) I’m most interested in what I see as similarities, both spiritual and (no doubt) aesthetic, between a whole generation of artists across disciplines. A clear collective interest emerged in manifesting starkly phenomenological work, i.e. the audience is meant to objectify the experience of the work in a space, with other humans, and in time, which in essence creates a sort of ritualized notion of place and space. Dan Graham did it with wall mirrors, the musicians did with the glorious overtones of analog syths and organs (among other things.)

 

The audio image unfolds in time as a series of aphoristic profiles. The order (with timings):

    Phill Niblock: 0:00

    Rhys Chatham: 7:14

    Pauline Oliveros: 15:42

    Jon Gibson: 23:40

    Charlemagne Palestine: 31:23

 

I’ve also marked and notated these timings on the Soundcloud file via the commenting function (visible above.)

 

It was such a pleasure gathering new perspective on this period from a wonderful subcohort of the larger community. Thanks to all my interviewee’s and to Mssr. Wooley for asking me to join the Sound American family.

 

-- Chris McIntyre, 2/15/15, Brooklyn

Further Listening & Reading

 

La Monte Young’s Eternal Music (March 16, 1972) Runtime: 87 min*

This program features a number of pieces by La Monte Young with such cryptic titles as 23 VIII 64 2:50:45-3:11AM, the volga delta, some of which can be played at various speeds, as demonstrated in this recording. Described as some of the most difficult music played on KPFA, Young’s music combines effectively the spirituality of the East with Western intellectual and technical interests. These performances are by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, with bowed gongs made by visual artist Robert Morris.

Rhys Chatham's Cornmaiden's Rite (April 12, 2011)

Recording Excerpts in Ritualism in the Soho scene, Late 60’s and 70’s

 

from The Kitchen Archive: New Music New York 1979

     Orange Mountain Music mm015

     from The Kitchen Archive page

     Amazon

     ITunes

 

Jon Gibson Criss Cross (section 3) (1979)

composer - solo soprano

 

Pauline Oliveros Tuning Meditation (1971)

composer, audience - vocals

 

Steve Reich Drumming (part 1) (1971)

James Preiss, Gary Schall, Richard Schwarz, David Van Tieghem - tuned drums

 

Phill Niblock Bag (ca. 2013)

unreleased, courtesy of the composer

David Watson - bagpipes

 

Rhys Chatham Two Gongs (1971)

Rhys Chatham & Yoshimasa Wada - gongs

Recorded live at Experimental Intermedia, 1988

Available on Chatham's Soundcloud page

 

Rhys Chatham Cornmaiden's Rite from Outdoor Spell (2011)

Rhys Chatham - trumpet, Betty Rojas - percussion

Available on Chatham's Soundcloud page

Northern Spy Records NS004

 

Charlemagne Palestine Schlingen Blängen (1979)

composer - solo organ

Schlingen Blängen New World Records 80578 (1999)

 

 

Interviews with and recorded by McIntyre

 

 

Rhys Chatham, 1/15/15, via Skype between Brooklyn and Paris, FR

Phill Niblock, 2/3/15, Experimental Intermedia at 224 Centre Street, New York, NY

Pauline Oliveros, 2/5/15, via Skype between Brooklyn and Venice, IT

Jon Gibson, 2/6/16, Gibson's apartment on Harrison St., New York, NY

Charlemagne Palestine, 2/8/15, via Skype between Brooklyn and Brussels, BE