Glenn Jones

Alan Licht, Laura Baird, Anthony Pasquarosa

Sun, April 17, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Union Pool

Brooklyn, NY

$12.00 – $14.00

This event is 21 and over

Glenn Jones – (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Glenn Jones is a master of American Primitive
Guitar, a style invented in the late 1950s by John
Fahey, whose traditional fingerpicking techniques
and wide-ranging influences were used to create
modern original compositions. Jones, who led the
post-rock ensemble Cul de Sac, brings his own made-
up tunings, the use of custom-crafted partial capos,
and a highly skilled picking style on both banjo and
guitar, to create personal compositions that are lyrical, emotive and elegant. What sets him apart from the myriad guitarists playing today is his ability to tell stories with the guitar and banjo, and to convey a range of emotions. This process starts with the compositions themselves and carries through to his selection of recording environment and engineer.
Fleeting was recorded in a house on the banks of the Rancocas Creek in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Cozy, cluttered with artifacts of a life well-lived (by its owner Bill Bolger), the house struck the right note for Jones and his recording engineer, Laura Baird. Jones in particular likes spaces with character that are remote from the day-to-day world. Jones and Baird made no attempt to soundproof the recording environment, happy to let sounds filtering in from the outdoors to become part of the listening experience.
One of Fleeting’s underlying themes is the past and the way places and people resonate in our lives. Jones reflects on the brevity — the fleetingness — of all things, while also looking towards the future. “Spokane River Falls,” which Jones calls his “water song,” recalls the all- but-forgotten city of Spokane, Washington, where he was born. “Cléo Awake” and “Cléo Asleep” share the same melodies and the same inspiration — the newborn child of Jones’ friends (the conceit of “Cléo Asleep” is that Jones plays with a mute on the banjo — called The Happy Wife Banjo Mute — so as not to disturb Cléo, no matter where in the world she is!). “In Durance Vile,” one of the album’s more dissonant, prickly tracks, was originally written to accompany three poems by the abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky, whose texts Jones found “absurd, playful . . . sometimes cruel.” Two of the album’s songs are dedications to fellow guitarists (and friends) Robbie Basho and Michael Chapman.
Jones turned away from standard tuning years ago, inventing tunings as a way of escaping the known. The pieces he writes in these tunings are his way of navigating new and unfamiliar landscapes. “But it’s my hope,” he says, “that what you hear are not the tunings and partial capos and all that, but the music — the feeling within these pieces.” Fleeting is a journey that Jones invites his listeners to take with him.
Alan Licht
Born in 1968 and raised in New Jersey, I took guitar lessons at the age of ten and went on to play in typical high school cover bands and to study jazz guitar privately with Buck Brown. In my late teens, as my interests expanded to the avant-garde, I attended a seminar on improvisation given by noted west coast guitarist Henry Kaiser. Enrolling at Vassar College, I studied electronic music with Linda Fisher and composition with Annea Lockwood and Richard Wilson. By the time I graduated in 1990, I had already published articles on Minimalist composers La Monte Young, Tony Conrad, Rhys Chatham, and Charlemagne Palestine, and had recorded with former John Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali (on Rudolph Grey’s Mask of Light LP).


Relocating to New York City, I focused on pursuing free improvisation (with Rudolph Grey’s group the Blue Humans and guitarist Loren Mazzacane Connors) as well as indie rock (the bands Love Child and Run On, as well as a brief stint with legendary 60s psychedelic rock band Arthur Lee & Love). I also began developing a repertoire of structured improvisation pieces for solo electric guitar, documented on a series of albums starting with 1994’s Sink the Aging Process. These brought together my interests in reharmonization (from jazz and classical music), process, repetition, and extended duration (from Minimalism), and the textural vocabularies of rock and noise music. The albums also include tape pieces and organ works. In 1998 I began writing frequently for the British experimental music magazine The WIRE, doing several cover stories and other features. In 2000 I started handling bookings at Tonic, the estimable New York venue dedicated to showcasing a wide range of alternative music, from free improvisation to underground rock to electronica to the jazz and classical avant-gardes. This brought me into contact with numerous musicians, and I performed at Tonic myself countless times. In 2001 I co-founded the ensemble Text of Light with Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, a project that brings together free improvisation with screenings of historic examples of experimental cinema. Text of Light emphasizes the chance correspondences between what is happening onscreen and what is happening in the music, as a kind of live, real-time mixed-media collage. Subsequently I have made audiovisual collaborations with video artist and long-time Merce Cunningham associate Charles Atlas and Emmy-winning painter, designer and comics artist Gary Panter, which operated under similar principles. 2002 saw the publication of my first book, An Emotional Memoir of Martha Quinn, an extended personal essay about coming of age as a rock fan and musician. In 2007 my second book, Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories was published – significant as the first full-length study of sound installations and sound sculpture to be published in English, and the first to examine the genre mainly from an art historical, rather than a quasi-philosophical, viewpoint.


Any free improviser is also an audience member, as he or she is hearing the music for the first time. I brought this idea to performances I organized under the name the Digger Choir at Issue Project Room in 2003-2004 that conflated the roles of audience member and performer. Everyone who attended was responsible for performing the music-singing John Stevens’ Sustained Piece and Yoko Ono’s John Let’s Hope For Piece as well as my own pieces like Subway Piece, in which they were instructed to read a magazine or book they would ordinarily read to themselves in transit out loud. The idea of speaking texts aloud that are meant to be read silently also occurs in two of my recent sound installations: On Deaf Ears (2009), in which an article about the possible hearing loss incurred by listening to music on iPod earbuds at high volume was recorded being read aloud, and played as a loop on AVA Gallery’s outdoor speakers; and Cross Promotion (2010), in which the proprietors of both AVA and Diapason read aloud their press releases for coming exhibitions, the recordings were then installed in each other’s gallery space. These pieces play not only on sound art’s investigations of latent sounds, but on my dual work practice as a musician and a writer.


In 2010 I started a project called Title TK with media artist Cory Archangel and curator Howie Chen. Cory, Howie and I are all guitarists. Considering ourselves a band, in live appearances we walk onstage with guitars but never plug them in or play; instead we simply talk to each other (mostly about music). These talks are improvised, and to me represent a negotiation between spoken and musical languages, underlining the linguistic implications of musical vocabularies and the conversational aspects of group improvisation. They also represent an application of “post- studio art” ideas to music, in removing what would be expected as essential content from the rock band format. Finally, they build upon my personal history, making a conceptual accommodation between my parallel existences in the 90s as a rock band member and free improviser. More recent activities include recording and touring with Lee Ranaldo & the Dust, an improv trio with Aki Onda and artist/filmmaker Michael Snow, a duo with Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase, and a book-length interview with Will Oldham, Will Oldham on Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Faber & Faber (UK), W.W. Norton (US), Contra (Spain), 2012).

“Licht composes like the writer that he is. Ideas – simply stated and highly effective – emerge from a collage of everything from loops of raw guitar to radio weather reports.” — Christian Marclay on AL’s double CD A New York Minute in Best of 2003, ARTFORUM, December 2003.


“Be it in indie rock groups, improv ensembles, or his solo compositions, guitarist and writer Alan Licht has spent his career smuggling ideas across the obscured bridge between harmony and noise.” — Matthew Wuethrich, the WIRE, June 2008
Anthony Pasquarosa
Venue Information:
Union Pool
484 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
http://www.union-pool.com/
Reopening Spring 2021!
This is default text for notification bar