Author Archives: jessewgoin

Nature Denatured And Found Again

Gravity Wave 016-020
Antoine Beuger (flute)
Jürg Frey (clarinet)
Marcus Kaiser (cello)
Radu Malfatti (trombone)
André Möller (electric guitar)
Kathryn Gleasman Pisaro (oboe/english horn)
Michael Pisaro (composition, field recording, sine tones, noise, mixing, mastering)

≈ A Still Breathing World

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The artist and social activist Joachim Eckl grew up in the 60s near the Great Muhl river in Northern Austria. Eckl has been entrained to the great river, a tributary that wends and flows into the Danube, for decades; his great-grandfather constructed the first hydroelectric power plant on the Great Muhl, which is in operation to this day.
Following the completion of academic studies in psychology, Eckl entered into a decades-long artistic practice of installation projects tied to a variety of rivers, including the Great Muhl, and what Eckl calls social engineering, a concept with a strong affinity to Joseph Beuys’ notion of social sculpture. Eckl, like Beuys before him, expands the idea of art and the artist via direct action into the public, social, quotidian realms of everyday life. Eckl’s actions in the social sphere have included engaging hundreds of his fellow citizens in an encampment in dry river beds of the Muhl river, resulting in the power company improving the flow and course of the great river.

Eckl has observed that through the practice of spending time in nature with active and intensely focused senses, we discover what Michael Pisaro describes as “the infinite density of small events that make up a situation”. Eckl found, for example, that as he became intimate and familiar with the Great Muhl, it became differentiated from all the other rivers he spent time with. The extraordinary nature writer Robert Macfarlane hints at this intimacy when he writes “We lack-we need- a term for those places where one experiences a transition from a known landscape…into another world. They exist even in familiar landscapes.” I would offer a slight amendment to Macfarlane’s sentence-particularly in familiar landscapes.

In 2007 some of the Wandelweiser composers, Michael Pisaro among them, were invited by Eckl to visit Neufelden, Austria, the site of Eckl’s four-floor converted warehouse venue for exhibitions and performances. Following that visit- which turned out to be an auspicious encounter- Pisaro dedicated his 2008 Ascending Series 2.1 to Eckl, and returned to the idea of further, deeper collaborations. Their meeting had a resonance and a pull that neither could foresee would unfold over the ensuing decade.

Returning to Eckl’s natural boyhood milieu repeatedly between 2011-2015, Pisaro made field recordings along the Grosse Mühl River, during what the composer came to call  the flussaufwärts project, collaboratively created by Joachim Eckl, Marcus Kaiser and Pisaro.  The recordings of the river, as it flows down from Neufelden to the Danube, were subsequently woven together with in situ performances by Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey, Marcus Kaiser, Radu Malfatti, André Möller, and Kathryn Pisaro: eight years in the making, Nature Denatured and Found Again, a four hour assemblage of the infinite density of small events, is an immense achievement.

The span and scope of the composition are its most obviously impressive aspects-the recording of the project, with its considerable travel requirements, was sustained for five years, a remarkable fidelity by the composer to contingencies of place and personnel; the assemblage and mastering by Pisaro required another two years, undertaken, as will be made clear, in a situation in which, Pisaro writes in the liner notes, “it is easy to feel despair.”
“My bulwark against depression is an attempt to hear another world in the midst of the one that is sounding an alarm. Consider this an amplification of an almost inaudible, but still breathing world.”

≡ A Different Realm

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Nature Denatured was released earlier this year; while I was living with this music a while, the composer Fergus Kelly recommended to me the British writer Robert Macfarlane – I was unfamiliar with Macfarlane, whose books take up, in beautiful prose, the matter of place, nature and language. His practice as a writer, like Eckl and Pisaro, has been to wander and wend along paths and rivers throughout the wild territories in England and Ireland, observing with keen attention and an openness to being transformed by the experience. “You pass…the river’s bank-and in doing so you arrive at a different realm, in which you are differently minded because differently bodied.” I was struck by differently bodied, as it linked in my mind to a passing reference by Pisaro in his notes for Nature Denatured to Deleuze’s term ‘becoming-imperceptible’; “I understand this as a partial vaporizing of our body-oriented selves”, Pisaro writes, “in a way that our mind-directed senses can fit into spaces and expanses where our body could not go.” Differently bodied. Becoming-imperceptible. Entering another world.
It is my surmise- one long informed by Dogen, whose writings serve as the headwaters of the Soto Zen lineage- that there exists a way of being in the world that values sustained and loving attention to what is; a habit that, contra mysticism and it silly claims, enables us to perceive both what is beautiful and what is hideously awry in our world. In musical terms what Pisaro calls “a discrete hearing of the continuum”-becoming –imperceptible is a process enabling the listener to enter into the river, the birdsong, the city, the incoherent and disparate realms we’re surrounded with; it is how, to my way of listening, Pisaro and his fellow musicians situated themselves along the Great Muhl. It is a significant cooking of the seeds found in Cage’s 4’33”, which Pisaro reminds us was originally entitled Silent Prayer.

≠ To Become Imperceptible Oneself

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Nature Denatured includes a 24-page book that outlines with considerable detail the structure of the five year project and the five individual pieces that comprise the work. I am interested here in a different process- composer Pisaro’s way of situating himself in the sound world of the locations recorded (the Muhl’s watercourse way), the remarkable playing of his cohorts, and his own subtle choices, in the assemblage of the piece between 2016-2018, of filtered noise and sine tones.
The latter elements are prefigured in Pisaro’s earler works- the sprawling Transparent City (2007), July Mountain (2010), and Continuum Unbound (2014).
Continuum Unbound shares several affinities with Nature Denatured; long-form duration, multiple musicians responding to the wild locations recorded by Pisaro (and, in Continuum Unbound,  also by Greg Stuart), and-strikingly- the composer’s attunement to how place can be perceived as various, incoherent, chaotic, containing “an infinite density of small details” that are shaped and reshaped into a different sound realm entirely.
Pisaro worked on completing Continuum Unbound in 2014-interestingly, he refers to that year as the “silent year” where Nature Denatured is concerned, as it is the one year between 2011-2015 in which it wasn’t possible for him to make the trip to Austria.

The process of becoming-imperceptible can be heard in Pisaro’s location recording-based compositions going back at least 15 years (Transparent City’s recordings date to 2004); Nature Denatured is an assemblage of dynamic elements- aesthetic, social, operating both in and out of linear time- with the composer becoming, as much as possible within specific circumstances and contingencies, nearly nothing, enabling the listener to process and assemble the resulting work in their own mind, in their own time. The composer, the musicians, the wildlife milieu in totality, the listener to this strange, generative music- all can enter into the process; “…to become imperceptible oneself…but this precisely is a becoming only for one who knows how to be nothing” (Deleuze).

The conditioned, contingent and increasingly imperiled worlds documented and en-chanted (Macfarlane’s term) by Pisaro brought this listener to a whole other realm of consideration-the continuum of hope and despair that we move along, faced with the increasingly dire conflagration of a still breathing world.

 There Is Another World

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In Nature Denatured’s liner notes Pisaro writes that he has been guided through some of his thinking and feelings about the destruction of habitats and life by Arundhati Roy’s guarded optimism for the planet; he cites this text from 2002, in which Roy sounds a contingent but nonetheless sanguine note: “Another world is not only possible, she’s on her way. Maybe many of us won’t be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen carefully, I can hear her breathing.”
Another world.
Contingent and sanguinary, like poet John Ashbury’s “a haven of serenity and unreachable”, in his poem A Wave. Conflagration and natural disaster, byproducts of late capitalism, situate us all on the continuum along Beuys’ utopian aspirations, Eckl’s social engineering, Pisaro’s attempt to hear another world in the one sounding alarms of increasing urgency, and abject surrender and capitulation.
“There is another world but it is in this one”-Paul Éluard’s  koan points to the possibility of repair within the bleak landscapes of disaster capitalism.

The Great Muhl river, to return to where we started, has suffered measurable setbacks in the past decade; one aspect of Pisaro’s incredible journey in revisiting the upper Austrian area over eight or so years is the opportunity afforded him to listen anew to a place and its living, breathing nature across time.

In the two years in which Pisaro assembled and mastered Nature Denatured, the deadliest, costliest wildfires in California history destroyed habitat, homes and lives – the summer of 2018 was particularly devastating. Pisaro resides in the Santa Clarita area of Los Angeles County, where wildfires are increasingly near, frequent and consequential. Of course the complex interface between the management of urban and natural areas in the composer’s part of the world are only one part of the disaster scenario. While voices from every quarter, contaminated with the hubris and venal greed of their various political agendas debate the matter, the world is on fire.
Pisaro completed Nature Denatured in relatively close personal proximity to a landscape engulfed in flames. I have no doubt this informed his final editing and completion of this generous work.

There are likely some readers who visit this site expecting a description of the sounds of the music under discussion; an overview of my writing about music should offer a course correction where that’s concerned. I have never seen it as my undertaking to describe to you what you might hear entering this world.
I can offer this: the four hour sound-world of Nature Denatured owns an immense power, the realization of an immense imagination. Nature Denatured offers music of great scope and infinite density; all of the musicians involved contribute their sounds with a single-pointed and improbably subtle care and clarity. There are sections of fragile tonality, clouds of noise organic and electric, the delight of drawing the listener into teasing out the draw of horsehair from the whir of cicadas and the thrum of low brass. There is a section foregrounding Katherine Pisaro’s double reed melodic inventions that drops into the flow of things a ridiculously beautiful refuge for the listener. There are canons and river-sourced chord changes and a world of other sounds you’ll only find in Pisaro’s world, the imagination of a composer issuing forth what Eckl calls “the river in the human being”.

○ Epilogue: So This Is The World

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“What does the world
Mean to you if you can’t trust it
To go on shining when you’re
Not there?”

Artists are not consulted by the powers of empire for solutions to the disasters of empire; neither is Dogen nor you nor I. This makes Nature Denatured, with its small collection of artists intent on making another world within this one, an essential act, at least to my fatigued ears. There are authentic hints and pointers to how to care for the world as it is in Pisaro’s notion of becoming-imperceptible and Eckl’s life-long commitment to acting as if art and ordinary life are seamless and Antoine Beuger’s repeated infusion into the digital streams of social media the clarion call of John Holloway’s video address “Now is the moment to learn hope”, and in Mary Oliver’s lines above and below, from her poem “October”:
“So this is the world.
I’m not in it.
It is beautiful.”

We need another world, and it is in this one.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Afterword: for Michael Pisaro

We are living in a dark age. And we are not going to see the end of it, nor are our children, nor probably our children’s children. And our job, every single one of us, is to cherish whatever in the human heritage we love and to feed it and keep it going and pass it on, because the Dark Age isn’t going to go on forever, and when it stops those people are gonna need the pieces we pass on. They’re not going to be able to build a new world without us passing on whatever we can – ideas, arts, knowledge, skills, or just plain old fragile love, how we treat people, how we help people: that’s something to be passed on…and all of this passing things on, in all its forms, may not cure the world now – curing the world now may not be a human possibility – but it keeps the great things alive. And we have to do this because who are we to decide that it is hopeless?
If you wanted to volunteer for fascinating, dangerous, necessary work, this would be a great job to volunteer for – trying to be a wide-awake human during a Dark Age and keeping alive what you think is beautiful and important.

Michael Ventura

Sources:
Michael Pisaro quotes sourced from the booklet included with the Nature Denatured And Found Again box set
Robert Macfarlane The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 2012
and Landmarks 2015
Gilles Deleuze / Felix Guatarri  A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia 1980
Arundhati Roy An Ordinary Person’s Guide To Empire 2004
Paul Éluard Répétitions, 1922
Mary Oliver October from New & Selected Poems, Vol. 1 2005
Michael Ventura (with James Hillman), We’ve Had 100 Years of Psychotherapy and The World’s Getting Worse 1993

Photos: (credits found here: http://www.flussaufwaertstreiben.net/fotos/index.html)
≈ Marcus Kaiser
≡ Antoine Beuger + Michael Pisaro
≠ Michael Pisaro
Northern California wildfire aftermath detail / Summer 2018
○ Joachim Eckl

 

 

 

dragonflies draw flame

 

Ernesto Rodrigues / Giulherme Rodrigues / Eva-Maria Houben
the haecceity of things  (Creative Sources)

…myself it
speaks and spells,
Crying what I do is me-for that
I came.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame

This is music in which you’re cast into an open sea- orientation and hand-holds come gradually, and then only to the alert and intuitive. This is music that doesn’t contrive to mystify, but presents the secret, singular nature of its sounds; in this way, the music is so transparent, so self-enacting, as to initially seem slight, even unsubstantial. Enter and re-enter the environment of the piece and you regain and retool your senses and begin to perceive what’s on offer. The basic ground of the work owns an affinity with the spirit of some of the Wandelweiser composers- Manfred Werder chiefly-and in fact was co-composed by one of the collective’s preeminent members, Eva-Marie Houben.
The Rodrigues’, père et fils, in collaboration with Ms. Houben, create environments to be inhabited; we, the listeners, are the creatures who feel quickened or startled or seduced. We’re invited to grasp the sounds, their flavor, their affect, their micro-pulses and heartbeats, their small power.

Rodrigues and Houben’s sound world doesn’t simply invite the listener’s participation and loosed imagination, it necessitates it. Its intermittent gusts of airy organ tones, fragile, scraped strings, micro-harmonies and waxing and waning cricket songs come to us in billows and soft choirs of pure sentience.

The 13th century philosopher Duns Scotus posited the idea of the haecceity of all things, a word meaning, simply, thisness. Haecceity insists everything owns an essence of its own that makes it what it is. The poet Hopkins embraced Scotus’ principle in his lines of verse; his word was inscape. Inscapes are the true nature of a thing, always dynamic, never static, always moving in and out of relation to the thisness of others. Such as we hear in the music of Houben and Rodrigues.

The haecceity of the sounds exist for the listener to assemble, connect, puzzle over. The haecceity of things offers no meaning-rather, it speaks and spells, cries and dissipates. Thisness in sound, the startlingly clear this, not-that quality, was expressed beautifully by composer Jürg Frey in a recent interview: “I treat my pitches and music carefully, with respect, and let them have their say. I have the idea they talk to me.”

Face it, we are dulled and deadened by the world’s relentless, intrusive noise. In psychic self-defense we filter and blinker our senses, making the approach to this music a gradual, layered one.
Dragonflies, wings in the sun, draw flame. Ernesto, Giulherme and Eva-Maria play.  A music that restores the listener’s attunement to the haecceity of things is an act of generosity.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Liner notes for the December release of the haecceity of things on Creative Sources
Calligraphy: nyo (suchness, things-as-they-are)

_________________________________________________________________________________________

It is an old dream of mine that the nature of sounds is discovered and that they are not used in order to express something else.
–Hans Otte

 

Terry Jennings: The Quiet Sense of Something Lost

 Things Happen In Moments, Not Measures

When Terry Jennings was 20 years old, in December 1960, he was invited to present his music in Yoko Ono’s Manhattan loft, along with fellow composers and close friends Richard Maxwell, Terry Riley and La Monte Young. Jennings obliged with nine pieces. We can now look back and consider this: that was more than half of his extant available compositions.

We can also do this: we can hear about 10 of his available works scattered across a clutch of CDs, and a few performances via YouTube and Ubuweb. All but the five piano miniatures found on the remarkable 2009 release Lost Daylight are of uneven audio quality, to put it generously. What we cannot do-and I have made every effort for the past year to do so- is discover more than a few pages of critical texts about his stunningly beautiful, prescient music. Nor can you avail yourself of but a few photographs telling even a part of his story.

Since hearing Winter Trees and the four other short pieces of Lost Daylight nearly ten years ago, I have periodically returned to Jennings’ music. Naturally, plumbing the 30 minutes of the resonant, floating world of those five pieces, breathed into the present moment by the extraordinary John Tilbury, I wanted to hear more. I began my search.

There is evidence, more or less, of 16 compositions, less than 10 available on CD. Outside of Lost Daylight, Jennings’ work can only be found on several anthology collections, mainly of the music of John Cale. The record of his public performances are few-as I said, several can be found streaming with poor audio quality. Jennings played numerous private concerts at Cal Arts with Charlemagne Palestine, as well as happenings like the Ono event. Fragments exist of those encounters.

This impoverished legacy has nagged at me- those who heard his music when the eighteen-year old stepped out of his parent’s strict upper class home into the company of the twenty-something avant gardists we now regard as the 60s West Coast minimalist constellation – Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Dennis Johnson and Harold Budd- to share his spare, transfixing pieces, were astonished. Young, in his 2006 program notes to a Cal Arts performance of Jennings’ String Quartet, called him “the most talented musician I know.” Riley described him as “a musician of great originality and expressive power.” Budd, asked about Jennings legacy by American Music editor Brett Boutwell, replied “Has any American composer done more than Winter Trees?” When Jennings visited England in 1970, his piano music was instantly embraced by Cornelius Cardew and John Tilbury; 39 years later, Tilbury would see his realization of five of Jennings’ piano pieces released by Another Timbre, the aforementioned Lost Daylight.  Cale, Johnson and Riley have all stated in interviews over the years Jennings was a “natural”, who created brief, brilliant works that were studies in the play of time and memory, privileging silence and space, augurs of the concerns taken up by many composers three decades later.

Even considering Jennings premature death at 41, the lacunae found in every available historical account of those fertile and fecund early years of American minimalism around Jennings’ presence and contributions didn’t sit well with me. Putting aside the compositions themselves, the evidence of his relationships within an astonishing cadre of creative composers and musicians suggests Jennings was a colleague and collaborator, not a footnote, among those who have fared much better in our collective memory-Harold Budd, Peter Garland, Terry Riley, Dennis Johnson and La Monte Young. For example, Jennings played Johnson’s recently discovered and feted long-form piece from 1959, November; in fact, the 100 minute tape fragment of November Young sent to composer and critic Kyle Gann in 1992, setting in motion the process of getting it reworked and released in 2013, was a recording of either Johnson or Jennings on the Jennings family piano, replete with the Jennings family dog barking along. Young acknowledges November as the inspiration for his much better known The Well Tuned Piano. Budd and Garland played Jennings piano music publicly throughout the 70s. The cross-fertilization was endless, the praise for Jennings by his peers striking, and, given a little patient persistence, the present day listener can hear for themselves the providence in the few works available to us.

It is beyond the scope of this appreciation of Terry Jennings to address the multifaceted nest of hooks that is music history, formal and informal. Like all historical narratives, it is sustained greatly by its mere repetition, the echo chamber of the chroniclers of minimalism reiterating, Young>Riley>Reich. Jennings and Johnson are inhabitants of this realm, sharing a little of the pallid light shed in the margins from time to time.  The received narrative of the roots and branches of American minimalism has been revisited here and there, at least to the degree that the holy quartet of Reich, Glass, Young and Riley has been shaken up a little. The recent resurrection of Johnson’s November, and, an example from the following decade, the revivification of the brilliant Julius Eastman, demonstrates that the territorializing of any artistic landscape should be subject to a long, critical gaze. Recent rediscovery and publication of the music of composers Phillip Corner and Tom Johnson, for further examples, both born within a couple of years of Young, serve to shake things up the more.

Regarded, as I have come to do, as a landscape of intersections and affinities, not privileging “firsts” alone as the basis for establishing authorship and influence, Jennings’ music is all the more astonishing, his backgrounding the sadder. There is no question Young and Riley merit the attention given to the groundwork they established around 1958-1959; laying out a linear storyline, however, that has Young as the fountainhead, Riley and Jennings as tributaries, is sustained as much by that lacunae in which Jennings’ work is held, as by any objective analysis. It is to this nihility that I turn.

 But over all this brooding slept
The quiet sense of something lost.

Jennings was a heroin addict when he began his close association with his peers; he was murdered in 1981, age 41, in a drug deal gone wrong. He had met and grown close to fellow experimental composer Richard Maxwell, who co-curated the Ono bash in 1960 that saw the debut of Jennings’ nine compositions. Maxfield, 13 years Jennings senior, committed suicide at the age of 42. His archives are held by La Monte Young’s Mela Foundation. When Jennings died, Young sought and obtained exclusive rights to Jennings’ tapes and manuscripts, under the auspices of his Mela Foundation.

There is no doubt that Jennings had little if any regard for the idea of a legacy-his social reticence and awkwardness, recalled by all who knew him, and his increasingly debilitating heroin addiction supplant any sort of self-promotion, and likely feed the postmortem narrative sustained in countless interviews with Young that Jennings was his student, even devotee. Dying young and leaving only a small body of accessible work serves to seal the story. Webern, frequently cited as a composer whose radical impact and influence rested for years on 31 compositions that fit on six CDs, is prodigious by comparison. But there is no question, to this writer, that that sealed, impoverished legacy is sustained as much by Young’s decision to hold Jennings’ tapes and manuscripts hostage, unavailable to a curious public. For historians, academicians and simply avid listeners who are mining the milieu Jennings practiced, created and collaborated in, Young’s archival control of Maxwell, Jennings and, as many more readers are no doubt aware of, the ensemble Theater of Eternal Music, presents a pattern that serves no one but Young, enabling the now 83 year old composer to maintain a strange narrative of influence and control. Young actually has not been averse in occasional interviews over the years to characterizing himself in terms of control and power, even offering a self-attributed guru status, albeit without a suggestion that these are problematic qualities where the history of this music is concerned.

So we come to the unanswered question- what could we further understand and relish, what might we hear, where Jennings’ life and legacy are concerned, if his legacy had been entrusted to an executor who chose to share it with the curious listener? The Mela Foundation holds all the extant manuscripts and tapes- if you search as I have for insights, even glimpses, into Jennings’ practice, you will find nearly all of it issues from Young. He has declined to respond to inquiries from those seeking his perspective on the matter of Jennings’ archived work, including a fairly recent inquiry from Professor Brett Boutwell, an editor and writer whose article Terry Jennings: The Lost Minimalist was enormously useful when I discovered it months into my search for Terry Jennings.

I wasn’t looking for the La Monte Young storyline when I set out to simply hear more and learn more of Jennings’ work. In an effort to discuss both Jennings and Young with someone who bridges their respective lives and music, I initiated a phone conversation in August 2017 with the cellist Charles Curtis. Curtis was generous with his time (we talked 70 minutes). I have listened to his work for many years and admire him greatly-in past years I had reached out to him to discuss Eliane Radigue, the subject of a piece I was writing, and to invite him to perform in a concert series I curated in Minneapolis/St. Paul for six years. I knew a little of his long association with Young, an association that extends to this day, and of his affinity with Jennings’ cello music, which Curtis has performed in concert as recently as 2016. Curtis told me he heard about Jennings in the 80s from Young and has performed Jennings’ Piece For Cello and Saxophone as a cello/vocal duet with Young numerous times, a structured improvisation for Young’s vocals above a drone. Curtis continues to play in concert a solo cello piece by Jennings that Young holds the rights to; he has done so every decade since the 80s, twice in 2016. When I raised the question of Young’s motivation in holding on to Jennings’ work and declining to release any of it to the public, Curtis said he couldn’t address the business of Jennings’ legacy or speculate on Young’s operation of the Mela Foundation where that legacy is concerned.

 Nothing Is Ever Lost, Nor Can Be Lost

Likely we will need to content ourselves with what we have. As I said, Jennings’ legacy is shaped by the braiding of forces self-destructive and Young’s hold on an archive signed over in the immediate wake of that self-destruction.

Wending through my search for Terry Jennings I have had to side-step all but a few brief, cursory tangents of the Tony Conrad/La Monte Young story. As it too concerns Young and issues of narrative and legacy in collaborative music, I will offer the most succinct of summaries: the filmmaker and musician Tony Conrad was an early participant in the ensemble Theater of Eternal Music, along with Jennings, John Cale, Young, and other notable musicians associated principally with the downtown NYC experimental music scene. In the years after he’d departed the ensemble, and Young’s sphere of influence, Conrad, along with other departed members, was involved in a lengthy legal dispute with Young over the rights to his work with the ensemble. Along with the legal engagement, Conrad had, prior to his death in 2016, occasionally picketed Young’s public performances. This last action is sufficiently unusual in the experimental music realm that he was asked about it more than once in interviews; in one such interview, Conrad, clearly irritated with the interviewer, said a couple of things I find bracing and relevant to the Jennings story. Conrad always viewed his work with Young as collaborative, non-hierarchical, and was therefore outraged at the control Young maintained over the rights to the work. “Why doesn’t La Monte Young want these recordings heard, when their historical influence is stronger than their actual audibility?” He goes on to say that his picketing was just one available action to resist what he regarded as Young’s “isolationism”, his control of the historical narrative. “When I picket La Monte Young, I am not only making a cultural statement in the formal arena of political action, I am also consciously pressuring the societal isolationism that Young stands for as a figurehead of this earlier movement.”

Listen to Jennings’ piano miniatures, the bare bones architecture of his string quartet, the oceanic cello and saxophone modal music; imagine the sound were it extended beyond his addiction and violent, stupid, early death. Consider the influence of a body of work less than a decade in its flow, were it flowing still. Keep alert to the possibility that Terry Jennings’ music hasn’t all been found, that what was lost is immanent- not lost, waiting to be found.

 

Lost Daylight, Another Timbre, 2009, reissued in September 2017

Thanks a million to Quatuor Bozzini for sharing sound files of two of their four performances of Jennings’ String Quartet, a single movement piece comprising 43 notes.

SQ version 1: recorded in Jürg Frey’s concert series, Aarau, Switzerland, 2006
SQ version 2: recorded in Boras, Sweden, 2007

Things happen in moments, not measures  Michael Pisaro, liner notes to Lost Daylight, October 2009

 But over all this brooding slept
The quiet sense of something lost.
 Tennyson, In Memoriam: A.H.H

Nothing Is Ever Lost, Nor Can Be Lost  Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Brett Boutwell, Terry Jennings, the Lost Minimalist, American Music, Spring 2014

Tony Conrad interview with Brian Duguid, June 1996, Estweb

Telephone conversation with Charles Curtis, August 31, 2017

 

Terry Jennings & Yoko Ono NYC 1960