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Out of stock

Henry Flynt

Raga electric

Label: Locust Music

Format: Vinyl LP

Genre: Electronic

Out of stock

LP version. In the early '60s, fresh from his clean behind the ears years at Harvard, Henry was undergoing rapid ideological shifts: cavorting with Maciunas and the whole Fluxus bit, doing performances at Yoko Ono's loft and recording with La Monte Young; having it out with his Stalinist cohorts over the relative merits of a good blues run and searching for a new musical language outside of the various generic artistic restrictions before him at the time. What he arrived at was an expressive practice he dubbed audact (auditory acognitive cultural activity) and that is what you will hear on this collection. Collecting key material from 1963 to 1971, Raga Electric is a 7 piece distillation of some of Henry's most adventurous, audactatious, outsider musical endeavors. The record begins with, of all things, a hybrid, off the wall treatment of the traditional supranationalist anthem The Marine's Hymn sung in a thick tongued, fully untudored Hindustani vocalese to brilliantly sun drenched, lightly strummed acoustic guitar accompaniment. The title cut, 'Raga Electric', is a twisted, howling fake hindustani rag with staccato untuned guitar and bleating screams recorded at his home just a few short hours after catching Pandit Pran Nath at a downtown morning concert. The howling orgasmic yodel of a visionary's self-posession and certain surrender on this 1966 cut puts Henry somewhere at the epicenter of the folk isolationist world of Jandek and the ethnodislocation of the Sun City Girls, to name but a few. The side long closer, 'Free Alto', is a monstrous exploration of the ins and outs of the tenor saxophone which, upon hearing it, Terry Riley referred to as 'a very articulated musical program'. Though it remains Henry's single meeting with the instrument, over the course of some 13 odd minutes, he finds out everything he needs to know about the horn and gets into some pretty hairy free squelch and squeal territory in the process. 'I was just pulling sounds out of a hat and just stringing them together,' he recently told me. As hats go, this one should fit the heads of today's listeners just fine. Dawson Prater

Cat. number: Locust 6LP
Year: 2009