Tony Conrad, drone and minimalist music pioneer, RIP

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Very sorry to hear.

Although I only saw Conrad perform once, it was without any doubt the most extraordinary musical experience of my life. He played a single note on a violin for over an hour, pulling the audience around his shadow - projected onto a white sheet behind him - into a psychotic, restless state I can only describe as agonising. My wife’s head started beating against my shoulder after twenty minutes, while my friend’s knuckles got whiter and whiter. My most enduring memory of that performance was after it ended. He suddenly stopped playing the note, and it felt as if he’d released his audience like doves into the sky. Somebody shouted, “You’re mad!”.

He bowed, and smiled at us.


Only aware of his work with Faust, pity the recent reissue of Outside The Dream Syndicate Isn’t the 2 disc version that was re-released in the 1990s. ‘The Death of the Composer Was in 1962’ is wonderful, and sadly apt.

Tony Conrad was my mentor when I first taught a college class in film and he gave me the best advice.He said always fuck up your demos.


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