Tony Conrad, 1940-2016-[infinite]
April 9, 2016 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Rest in peace Tony Conrad, who passed early this morning at the age of 76 due to prostate cancer. He was a pioneering avant-garde musician, particularly known for his massive, minimalist drones. He collaborated with the likes of La Monte Young and Faust, and was a major inspiration for the Velvet Underground (he was briefly in a pre-VU band called the Primitives with John Cale and Lou Reed.) He was also an innovative video artist. More links within.

Key listen: Outside the Dream Syndicate, his 1972 album with Faust; "glorious ecstatic hymns made of abrasive violin drones and freak-out dissonances."

This interview with the Guardian is from two weeks ago: 'People thought we were on drugs – and we were!'

Marc Masters shared a great interview he did with Conrad in 2008.

THE MOMENT OF ENLIGHTENMENT IS A SOUND: Tony Conrad and the Long String Drone
posted by naju (25 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Everyone's heroes are dying this year, it seems. I don't know much about Conrad, but he did influential work.

posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh no. One of the greats.

I highly recommend Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage. It delves into how his approach to minimalism/abstraction differed from Young's and places his work in much broader context. He is/was an inspiring and wonderful artist.
posted by AtoBtoA at 12:39 PM on April 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by L E M M at 12:40 PM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Conrad was supposed to be a guest at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville earlier this month; he was going present a Q and A with his films, and perform with Faust.

He cancelled due to illness shortly before the festival. We saw his films anyway. Laurie Anderson and the string section he hired played Outside The Dream Syndicate. It was INCREDIBLE, euphoric, but he was very much missed


posted by louche mustachio at 12:49 PM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I once dated a woman who was somewhat affiliated with this NY crowd in the 90s and she was told that there are reels and reels of unreleased recordings of TEM/Dream Syndicate all-nighters. I should email her.

I was never the hugest fan of the 60s experimental and drone scene, but his influence permeates so much of what came after that I do like.

posted by rhizome at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

________________________________________ .
posted by Devonian at 1:39 PM on April 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

I was an electrical engineering student. I took his class on video art. He was without a doubt the most inspiring professor I ever had the privileged of taking a class from. His influence has permeated every aspect of my life. He also had the coolest car in town.
posted by f5seth at 2:05 PM on April 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

He influenced many musicians that I heard first, and then I made my way backwards to him and Stockhausen.

posted by droplet at 2:18 PM on April 9, 2016

The Theatre of Eternal Music aka Dream Syndicate almost has the feel of a tontine, because John Cale and Tony Conrad have had a long-running feud with La Monte Young over control of the group's recordings. Now that Tony Conrad has predeceased La Monte Young, I wonder how this will turn out and whether there will be any revelations from Tony Conrad's personal archives.

posted by jonp72 at 2:46 PM on April 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by shackpalace at 3:45 PM on April 9, 2016

Four Violins [excerpt] (1964).

When I first heard this in 1996 [via the sadly out-of-print Table of the Elements Conrad box], I immediately wanted to know and hear more. It opened up a lot of doors for me, musically, and I'm probably still digesting it. Thank you and RIP Tony Conrad.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:05 PM on April 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

. (just saw Faust too)
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 4:07 PM on April 9, 2016

posted by Smart Dalek at 4:38 PM on April 9, 2016

posted by interrupt at 5:39 PM on April 9, 2016

Dry Bones in the Valley

John Fahey cover by Gastr Del Sol w/ Tony Conrad. Beautiful!
posted by shackpalace at 5:44 PM on April 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by nightrecordings at 6:35 PM on April 9, 2016

posted by Bistle at 8:59 PM on April 9, 2016

On wings sir, on wings.
Joan of Arc

posted by evilDoug at 9:09 PM on April 9, 2016

Do the ostrich.
posted by oceanview at 10:59 PM on April 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by threecheesetrees at 11:20 PM on April 9, 2016

posted by saulgoodman at 11:47 PM on April 9, 2016

posted by marienbad at 12:42 AM on April 10, 2016

posted by remembrancer at 5:32 AM on April 10, 2016


posted by Theta States at 12:17 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by klausness at 2:14 PM on April 13, 2016

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