Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Glenn Branca RIP

Branca was a composer who was singularly of his time, and also of no time.  The rage, grit, and restrained chaos of his early no-wave recording could have only been born out of late 70's New York City.  But the template he mapped out with "The Acension" and his early symphonies were the basis for the next thirty plus years of his career.  These extraordinary recordings have never been duplicated by anyone, probably because his admirers knew better than to foolishly fail in the attempt.  His style truly stood alone.  One can classically train their ear and brain to compose melodies, to imagine how they will sound fully formed before they are written down.  How does one train themselves to hear the sounds that Branca envisioned?  How did he envision in advanc e the dissonance that will be produced by a symphony of 100 guitars?  Branca warned his listeners to play his recordings at full volume to bring out the full range of tones and harmonics.  But this in turn depends on the speakers and the room used for listening.  Could he anticipate how his music would be perceived depending on the habits of the listener, and the quality of their equipment?  I like to imagine that he could.  Branca truly composed sound in a way that nobody ever had, or probably ever will. 

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