Avant-garde composer Tony Conrad, whose experimental music in the 1960s inspired the likes of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, died today at 76.
"Tony Conrad- one of my first partners in noise.- an indelible mark made, that will forever be paid forward," tweeted Conrad's early collaborator John Cale who went on to form the Velvet Underground.
If you're not hip to Conrad, start with his 1973 collaboration with Krautrock band Faust, "Outside the Dream Syndicate," a minimalist masterpiece that has just been reissued. Then lose yourself in Early Minimalism, Vol. 1, a compilation that includes the sublime "Four Violins" (1964). (Listen to excerpts of both below.) From NME:
Conrad was a member of the Theatre of Eternal Music, later known as The Dream Syndicate, an avant-garde 1960s drone music group whose lineup included The Velvet Underground's John Cale. Conrad also played with Cale in the short-lived 1960s band The Primitives, which was fronted by Lou Reed.
Cale and Reed would go on to form The Velvet Underground, naming the band after a book they found in Conrad's department.
Conrad's 1966 film The Flicker is frequently hailed as a landmark in structural filmmaking and his work has been displayed in leading international museums including the Louvre in Paris and New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.