Tony Conrad’s 200-Hour Avant-Garde Piano Composition, “Music & the Mind of the World”: Now Free Online for the First Time

Last year, Tony Con­rad–an avant-garde video artist, exper­i­men­tal film­mak­er, musi­cian, com­pos­er, and sound artist–died at the age of 76. In its obit­u­ary, The New York Times wrote:

Mr. Con­rad was relent­less and rig­or­ous in expand­ing the para­me­ters of the fields in which he worked. His ear­ly musi­cal com­po­si­tions, like “Four Vio­lins” (1964), were high-vol­ume sus­tained drones. His first film, “The Flick­er” (1966), cre­at­ed a pul­sat­ing stro­bo­scop­ic effect with alter­nat­ing black and white frames. It was pre­ced­ed by a stern warn­ing that the film could induce epilep­tic seizures in cer­tain spec­ta­tors and that audi­ence mem­bers remained in the the­ater at their own risk.

Anoth­er work that else­where gets spe­cial men­tion is “Music and the Mind of the World,” a piano com­po­si­tion com­pris­ing over 200 hours of record­ed music. Influ­en­tial but lit­tle heard, “Music and the Mind of the World” fea­tures “the sounds of prac­tic­ing, bang­ing on the keys, for­mal exer­cis­es, exper­i­ments with the har­mon­ic sonor­i­ty of the piano itself, and even ‘On Top of Old Smokey’.” Begun in 1976 and com­plet­ed in 1982,“Music and the Mind of the World” is a “total encounter between an impro­vis­ing per­former and the cen­tral instru­ment of West­ern musi­cal cul­ture.”

For the first time, that influ­en­tial piece has now been pub­lished and made avail­able online for free on Youtube (above), or at this ded­i­cat­ed web­site. Set aside a big chunk of time and start stream­ing.

To learn more about the con­cep­tu­al under­pin­nings of this avant-garde cre­ation, read this inter­view with Con­rad. (I’d sug­gest click­ing here and doing a key­word search for “Could you tell me some­thing about your late 70s music, such as Music and the Mind of the World?”).

via @WFMU

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Acclaimed Japan­ese Jazz Pianist Yōsuke Yamashita Plays a Burn­ing Piano on the Beach

Ital­ian Pianist Ludovi­co Ein­au­di Plays a Grand Piano While Float­ing in the Mid­dle of the Arc­tic Ocean

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.