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Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain


Artist: Tony Conrad
Label: Superior Viaduct
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 30 June 2017

Superior Viaduct bring to the market a previously unreleased recording of the 1972 premier performance featuring Rhys Chatham, and Laurie Spiegel. Liner notes by Rhys Chatham and Andrew Lampert. Edited by Jim O'Rourke Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain is the quintessential work of artist/filmmaker/composer Tony Conrad. Comprised of both film installation and minimalist score for amplified strings, Ten Years leaps across genre and medium to connect his revolutionary structural filmmaking with the experiments in long-duration sound that Conrad had begun in the 1960s as part of the Theatre of Eternal Music...

Read the above synopsis, digest it, and then listen to the recording. If you buy that guff I have a two headed dog you might be interested in buying. Okay, I get it. I understand music as a more expressive art form, knocking down the conventional teachings that constrict and limit musicians... But you know what, these restrictions stop any old con artist throwing stones against a wall, recording it and releasing it as an album of the struggles of youth... or some other bullshit.

I understand what Conrad is trying to achieve, I just personally didn't get ANYTHING from it - other than a weird instinct to roll my eyes and sigh.

Do you remember that Nyan Cat Youtube video that was looped for hours. This is what listening to Tony Conrad's Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain felt like. It just goes on and on.

It opens with a familiar droning of bagpipes (think of the start of 'Scotland the Brave' and you'll know what I mean) before injecting what sounds like the digital manipulation of someone plunging a sink. Then, before we know what's hit us, a tired old Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout arrives to boing around a bit - sadly his spring has seen better days.

To say this album is self indulgent cobblers would be an understatement. The album contains 1 track that's 1 hr, 28 min, 18 sec long. Listen to the first 20 seconds and pretty much that's the entire album.

A fine example of stretching thin material to breaking point... and then just going on and on an on. A bit like this review.

In case you're still unsure of where I stand on this... I wasn't a fan.


Nick Smithson

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