a community dedicated to the art and noise of one the most influenticial figures in music history.
G L E N N B R A N C A A Biography
Glenn Branca's compositions center around multiple guitars -- four or more, heavily amplified -- augmented by a rock-based rhythm section of drums and bass. In later works, the composer began adding other instruments, including mallet guitar, keyboards, and occasionally a second drummer. Branca's minimalist compositions frequently require unusual guitar tunings -- more recent works have them strung with two sets of three strings tuned an octave apart. Many of downtown New York City's more notable experimental guitarists have been a part of his ensemble, including Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of the punk rock band Sonic Youth. Branca studied performing arts at Emerson College in Boston. Much of his '70s output was composed for experimental theater, and was performed by his two ensembles, Theoretical Girls and Static. In the '80s his compositions for the Glenn Branca Ensemble included the several symphonies for which he is best known. He's received many commissions from such groups as the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Bang on a Can, to name just a few. Branca's music has also been heard in films and performances by Peter Greenaway, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the Joffrey Ballet, Eric Bogosian, and many others. Branca's 12th guitar symphony was performed at London's Barbican Centre in 1998. His works have also been performed by traditional symphony orchestras, including the London Sinfonietta, the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, and the Graz Festival Orchestra.
- :: AllMusic.com :: -
Although this is nothing but an album review, I think it does a lot to sum up Glenn Branca's importance.
Branca's first symphony is a massive behemoth of guitars, noise and alternate tunings with players that include the Theoretical Girls' Wharton Tiers and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. The first movement begins with a distant groan, like some Aboriginal folk music. By the time the thundering drums begin, the sound has become as grand and immovable is the monolith from 2001. Branca's brilliance lies in his merger of rock and roll with 20th century classical, as well as his ability to create rumbling, careening crescendos into infinity. This 1981 recording shows the roots of everything from Sonic Youth to Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai, Merzbow and the Boredoms to Black Dice and Lightning Bolt - even post rock groups like Tortoise and Sigur Ros - just listen to the ambient, repetitive pulsing of the second movement. Always defiant, always challenging, Branca's Symphony No. 1 is one of the most raucous and inspiring compositions of the late 20th century.