Wednesday, 26 August 2015

La Monte Young & Mariam Zazeela - The Black Album

It's like Christmas, but early.
This record has been at the top of my wish-list forever, but the £100+ price tag for old battered copies of the impossible grail always prevented me from buying it. La Monte Young is incredibly prolific, and records everything he ever does, but, somewhat against the grain of internet culture, never actually releases anything. Having a grand total of two commercially released albums (plus a few shoddy bootlegs), it is possible to pick up the 100 hours or so of the rest of his output on torrent sites, but you rarely find anything in the flesh... until now. A limited re-release that seems to be already bordering on going out of print, this album consists of two long-form 'drone' tracks - the first for two singers (Young and his wife Zazeela) and sine tone, with the second for two gongs. Like all Young's music, it's not for the faint-hearted, and you'd be forgiven for assuming a lack of progression throughout the 20 or so minutes of each piece. However, the careful use of specific frequencies creates all kind of odd psycho-neurological affects in the brain, creating a space that is beyond conscious attention - the mind tunes in to a new way of being, freed from the constraints of taste or opinion.
I can't sell this record enough - it is one of the greatest things to every grace wax - designed to be played loudly and in a single, uninterrupted sitting, I defy anyone to not get caught up in its trance-like effect under the right conditions. If you're in New York, Young and Zazeela have an ongoing installation where you can go and sit in on these continuous drones and chants - their house is an open performance space that has been running a perpetual version of this work for nigh on 30 years.

You can pick this up at Piccadilly records for at least another ten minutes - Buy it

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