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Monday, May 1, 2017

Philip Glass - "How Now" / Strung Out" Vinyl, LP, Limited Edition (1000 copies) Recorded in 1968 (OMM)


My guess that this is probably the earliest Philip Glass recordings.  According to Discogs, this is Glass's first concert in New York City.  Side one is "How Now, very much a hypnotic piece of music" and side two is "Strung Out.'  Both recorded at the Filmmaker's Cinematheque in 1968.   "How Now" is Glass on organ and it goes on for almost twenty minutes.  Repetition on the surface, but once you dig into its rhythms and sink into its hypnotic groove, it becomes a work of great pleasure.   For those who love the organ, this is the ultimate recording of this instrument.   The stamina to play this music is saint-like.   I'm a fan of Glass's music, especially his earlier works.  It's amazing that he did this type of music and eventually wrote these magnificent melodic pieces - but still, the Glass sound is contained in these different eras of music composing and making.  There is no way to mistake his work from some other composer. His uniqueness is that his music is rooted in the West, but also it has traces of Eastern drone like aesthetic as well. To be effective, the music needs to be played at high volume.  Think of it as a meditative piece that gets right in the front of your face.  

"Stung Out" is a performance piece with music by Glass.  Musician Dorothy Pixley-Rothschild plays violin while on skates following the music sheets that are taped to the wall of the Cinematheque.   I do not know Pixley-Rothschild's music or what happened to her after this performance/recording, but the ability to play the violin in such a manner, she must have the strength of a Mighty Atom.  She glides and attacks the music with precise attention.   An essential album for those who are into Philip Glass's music and his world.  The ultimate Soho New York 1968 moment.