Monday, May 9, 2011


Way back in 1965, drummer Angus MacLise helped form the Velvet Underground. Before the band even played their first show, he up and quit amid accusations that the band had effectively "sold out" for agreeing to play a live concert. According to Lou Reed and John Cale, MacLise was "so dedicated a bohemian" that "he could not tolerate somebody telling him when to start playing and when to stop" (source). The proto-hippie's tape recordings went largely unheard until 1999 when they first found wider release with Siltbreeze, who released two records, The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda and Brain Damage in Oklahoma City. A couple more recordings were released in the early 00's, but none since 2003.

Fast forward to 2011 and we see the release of two LPs of MacLise's tape-recorded, Eastern-influenced drone material; Dreamweapon I, live recordings from MacLise, Tony Conrad and Jack Smith, and Dreamweapon III, a small collection of collaborations with Conrad. The LPs, available in editions of 500 on May 15 from Boo-Hooray, act as sonic companions to a new exhibition dedicated to MacLise, Dreamweapon: The Art and Life of Angus MacLise (1938-1979). The show opens Tuesday with a party at the Boo-Hooray Gallery (521 West 23rd Street in New York) and is composed of a slew of poetry, drawings and photographs dug up from a suitcase lent to minimalist composer La Monte Young. The exhibit looks to cement MacLise as a major player in the connecting of Beat poetry, psychedelic film making, rock n roll and avant-garde composition. The exhibition comes complete with a full catalog in a limited edition of 1000, plus "a deluxe boxed edition of 100 copies with a numbered photo print, a numbered silk-screen and a CD of previously unheard music and poetry and more."

Check out the primitive, burnt drone of "Druid's Leafy Nest" from Dreamweapon III below, then buy an LP or two -- if you purchase both you save $10. Also, if you can't hit that opening party May 10, be sure to visit the exhibition before it closes on May 29.

Tony Conrad + Angus MacLise - Druid's Leafy Nest

(example of MacLise's "internal alphabets" / "automatic writing")

No comments: