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Live Reviews

Live Minimalism From New York: Shoko Nagai/Satoshi Takeishi, Signal, Rhys Chatham, Terry Riley & Glenn Branca

By Published: May 14, 2009

Branca's Rabelasian personality informs all, and his spirited full-body conducting is a strong contributory factor in channeling the band's crushing forces. It's not often that a baton's flick is exchanged for the vocabulary of the air guitar, with Branca making actual chord-shapes with his left hand. Meanwhile, his lower body is shimmying in zigzag fashion, knee-deep in rock'n'roll. The rhythmic meshing is divine, just slightly removed from whichever beat-emphasis is expected next, the riff constructions gaining in complex interchange, growing a resonant hum of cumulative distortion and resounding accents. It's ear-flatteningly loud, but just the right side of uncomfortable. When the piece heads for its sustained climax, this is one of the most elevated releases known to music. "Lesson No. 3" might be quite a short work, but much more of this monstrous riffing would surely be too dangerously ecstatic an experience.

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