Wednesday, December 10, 2008

36. The Hillbilly Avant-Garde

Don't have a bunch of my usual wacky horsedootz this time, just a few words about Henry Flynt. Found out about him through Alan Licht's Minimalism Top 10 lists (which has since become a Top 30, and can be found in, among other places, the Root Blog, for which there's a link farther down and on the right). Found out also that a whole passel of Flynt's stuff can be found on Locust Music and Ampersand Records, labels that anyone interested in good music should be interested in (full disclosure: Dawson Prater, the label head, used to live here and we used to play spades together, and once drunkenly offered to release a double album of my stand-up; the fact that I don't do stand-up is indicative of the aridity of Dawson's humor).

Henry Flynt is a backwoods avant-garde prankster and the two pieces I'm putting up, You Are My Everlovin' and Celestial Power, are epic fiddle ragas that make me wish I still did downers. This is all-night drive to Waco music, folks. The first pits his absolutely incredible fiddle against a classical Indian drone; the culture clash is only there if you put it there. The second piece's drone is even richer, mellow string stabs that end up sounding not unlike light saber practice drills. Flynt has a way of coaxing the most amazing high-string runs out of his fiddle that I have ever, ever heard, scattering notes like light through a prism. I can't do it justice; you just gotta hear it. Then go buy some shit from Dawson; he just had a kid and probably needs the scratch.

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