Alan Licht: Common Tones Book Release and Performance

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021
5:30PM–7:30PM
Performance at 7PM

In celebration of Blank Forms Edition’s publication of Common Tones: Selected Interviews with Artists and Musicians 1995–2020, Alan Licht will be joined by his longtime collaborator Loren Connors for a special performance at Grimm. Since the early 1990s, Connors and Licht have developed a rich sonic dialogue between their practices, taking shape over the course of nearly three decades of improvisational exchange. These profoundly meditative encounters—the meeting-place of two masterful guitarists, contouring the vast, cavernous sounds of minimalism with electric blues and an otherworldly cadence—have resulted in numerous duo records and performances since the start of their collaboration.

Common Tones: Selected Interviews with Artists and Musicians 1995–2020 can be purchased online, here.

For the past thirty years, Alan Licht has been a performer, programmer, and chronicler of New York’s art and music scenes. His dry wit, deep erudition, and unique perspective—informed by decades of experience as a touring and recording guitarist in the worlds of experimental music and underground rock—have distinguished him as the go-to writer for profiles of adventurous artists across genres. A precocious scholar and improvisor, by the time he graduated from Vassar College in 1990 Licht had already authored important articles on minimalist composers La Monte Young, Tony Conrad, and Charlemagne Palestine, and recorded with luminaries such as Rashied Ali and Thurston Moore. In 1999 he became a regular contributor to the British experimental music magazine the Wire while continuing to publish in a wide array of periodicals, ranging from the artworld glossies to underground fanzines. Common Tones gathers a selection of never-before-published interviews, many conducted during the writing of Licht’s groundbreaking profiles, alongside extended versions of his celebrated conversations with artists, previously untranscribed public exchanges, and new dialogues held on the occasion of this collection. Even Lou Reed, a notoriously difficult interviewee, was impressed.

One of the world’s most singular guitarists, Loren Connors is among few living musicians whose prolific body of work can be said to be wholly justified in its plenitude. On more than 100 records across almost four decades, Connors has wrung distinct shades of ephemeral blues from his guitar, its sound ever-shifting while remaining unmistakably his own. From his early, splintered take on the Delta bottleneck style through his song-based albums with Suzanne Langille and on to the painterly abstraction that defines his current work, Connors has earned the admiration of many, leading to collaborations with the likes of John Fahey, Jim O’Rourke, Keiji Haino, and Kim Gordon.

Please note that this event is mask-optional for vaccinated guests.

Image: Alan Licht (left) and projectionist Terry Daniels (right) performing with Text of Light in 2004 for Arika, Kill Your Timid Notion 04, at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland. Photo: Bryony McIntyre