Tony Conrad: 10 Essential Recordings From the Drone Pioneer

Titan of American minimalism influenced Velvet Underground, more

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'Outside the Dream Syndicate' with Faust (1973)

'Outside the Dream Syndicate' with Faust (1973)

On his first commercially released recording (and last commercially released recording for more than 20 years), Conrad brings the art-rock innovators of Faust into his minimal universe. On Side A's iconic "From the Side of Man and Womankind," Jean-Hervé Peron's mostly one-note bass part is pegged to the tonal center of Conrad's keening, expressive drone. The plodding percussion of Werner Diermaier is also tuned in sympathy with Conrad, resulting in a single-minded thrum that quickly turns transcendent. Side B opens up a bit, with Faust's members contributing more seductive beats, swaying figures and synthesizer chords, in turn showing off the variety of emotional effects that Conrad's drone system can support. Over the decades, Conrad reunited with members of Faust in concert (often focusing on this album's Side A). But the original recording, newly reissued, remains the final word.

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