2020 repress. Necessary vinyl edition of some of the greatest minimalist/hillbilly/rock/psych music of the century, the goddamn motherlode from violinist/composer/philosopher/artist Henry Flynt: Flynt penned a bunch of amazing texts across the years (check the special issue of Richard Grossinger’s Io journal dedicated to his thought, 1989’s Being = Space x Action for more on that), he studied with Terry Riley and LaMonte Young and was briefly associated with The Velvet Underground, though Lou Reed claims to have no memory of him (!). Across the mid-to-late 70s he formulated his concept of “avant-garde hillbilly music” with a series of recordings that amplified the complex microtonal and rhythmic relationships inherent in country blues and rural American music while joining the dots between various world devotional musics and the experiments in extended stasis of the new minimalism.
Graduation is a first time vinyl issue of what was originally released as the now tough to find Graduation And Other New Country And Blues Music CD on Ampersand in 2001 that was the first to present this new music to the world. The approaches here are various, but primarily rendered on violin accompanied by guitar, bass, drums and pedal steel. Flynt’s singing is fantastic and a track like “Graduation” is so prescient it would seem to reconcile stoned post-Loaded Velvet-isms with weirdo rockers like US Saucer, Eugene Chadbourne and Half Japanese while extrapolating the whole deal into repeat infinity. Indeed, there’s a beautiful lugubrious, stoned atmosphere to much of the instrumentals, with scything violins over lazy grooves that come over like Paradise-era Linda and Sonny Sharrock plays Jack Rose-era Pelt with the kind of sonic sleight of hand that will have you disbelieving your ears, running the gamut of “a hillbilly response to the low-and-slow vocals of Pandi Pran Nath” through “contemporary cowboy raga tonic pedal-point harmony”.
The closing sidelong “Celestial Power” is particularly brain-razzing, “an experiment in the genre originated by C.C. Hennix: the illuminatory audio program” which combines flashing violin phrases with a staggered approach to time to create a music that seems to be constantly flashing in and out of existence. Truly, one of the most mind-blowing collections of radical 20th century sound as thought, complete with a download code and an insert with notes from Flynt. Very highly recommended! (Volcani Tongue)
All tracks recorded 1975-1979