Tony Conrad: 10 Essential Recordings From the Drone Pioneer

Titan of American minimalism influenced Velvet Underground, more

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'An Aural Symbiotic Mystery' with Charlemagne Palestine (2006)
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'An Aural Symbiotic Mystery' with Charlemagne Palestine (2006)

After first collaborating together in the early 1970s, Conrad found his way back to working alongside fellow early New York minimalist Charlemagne Palestine. As with their memorable celebration of Conrad's 75th birthday in a 2015 Brooklyn performance, this recording finds the string player responding to Palestine's pipe organ drones and repeated piano figures. The first section is noticeable for its restraint — with timbres coming as close to "gentle" as they ever do in Conrad's music. After Palestine constructs an ascending-pitch melody, Conrad flips the electronic switch, which leads to a half-hour meditation of grand-piano chordal wash and distorted violin.

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