Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Keiji Haino & Tony Conrad

What we said at the time…

I said this in my copy for the KYTN festival earlier this year: I think of Tony Conrad as a master of the exceptionally gradual surprise, of creating a trance-like state in which an exaggerated and raging violin seems to reveal its form and intent only after the fact.  There’s so much going on, seemingly very slowly, that your ear wanders, much as your eye might while looking at the surface of a river, whilst daydreaming.  You pick certain things out and are aware of general flow of events, but you have to stand back to see the speed at which things are moving, to realise that where you’ve been for the last half hour. It’s an assault on the short term expectations of listeners, and it can open up whole worlds of temporal harmonic detail.  He’s one of the true pioneers of avant thought. 

Haino is (to me at least) one of the most urgent and essential musicians operating today.  I guess emotional violence in art was first valued by the modernists, and it’s been transmitted through avant thought ever since by carriers as disparate as Vertov, Artaud or even Blind Lemon Jefferson.  I think Haino is another of these carriers, an artist who thinks the separation between art and life can be vaulted if the artistic spectacle is sufficiently violent.  This is still an incredibly relevant gesture, and I think it’s what Haino wants to achieve.  So his musical voice is a long breathed one, free of established forms, open-ended and fraught.  His work stretches way beyond the rock cannon, to encompass great dynamic range, numbing power and devastating emotional depth.  He is capable of delivering the most delicate floating blues, and devastatingly heavy guitar damage; raw, primal and exhilarating.  Although Tony has visited Haino in Japan, and they played together in private, this is the first time anyone other that Haino’s cat will have seen them perform together.

  • Audio

    Credits / license
    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

  • Video

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    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0