Glenn Branca

I just discovered Glenn Branca. I don’t actually remember how this came about, but it was late last week that I tripped over him, perhaps as part of a randomized Spotify playlist or some post-rock/Minimalist rabbit hole I was chasing. [edit: what’s odd is that I couldn’t have discovered him on Spotify because what I’d first heard was a track from his tremendous early album The Ascension which doesn’t exist on Spotify; a bit of a mystery, I admit.]

It’s like both barrels of a shotgun going off. The first barrel fires and I’m like Whoa — what’s this? And all I want to do is dig further and research and figure out what the deal is with his music. The second barrel fires, and rather than reactive it’s reflective and I suddenly realize that what I’m hearing here, recorded many years earlier, was the essence of the calamitous and shambolic guitar orchestrations I was eagerly intrigued with from the generation of Montreal bands (usually on the Constellation label) I discovered in my 30s, namely Godspeed You Black Emperor, Silver Mt. Zion, and (to a lesser degree) Arcade Fire.

I found myself both thankful to have discovered his music and regretful that I didn’t discover him back in my late teens where for a while I was specifically searching for someone who might elevate the guitar to the heights of symphonic performance. Needless to say I’m mainlining pretty much everything I can listen to.

There’s a very thorough and well-reflected piece on Branca here, and I’m thankful that there are people out there sharing reflections like this.



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