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Album Review

May 24, 1999: Sonic Youth members perform at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville for the third time in four years. This time around, guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo flank experimental turntablist Christian Marclay. An audience member shouts, "F*ck sh*t up" just before they start playing — an album title delivered for free. And then they dived, playing a 63-minute set, followed by a nine-minute encore, bringing the festival to an end. Marclay weaves a backdrop of sounds — strange snippets of music, needle-skipping, and surface noise — while Moore and Ranaldo produce huge waves of feedback and walls of electric guitar sounds. The piece aims at being organic, but it just doesn't quite reach that state. Was it communication problems? But the performers were mostly working each in their own corner. They produced a nice gust of sound, but it hardly really came together and connected — fact is, the set almost collapsed halfway through. The encore finds Marclay delivering the performance of the night, blending noise rock with Dixie and Elvis Presley while Ranaldo accompanies him on what must be one of the last crackelboxes still around: the highlight of the album. The album was mixed down from two recordings of the show, one made in the venue itself, the other from Radio-Canada. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 1955 in San Rafael, CA

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Christian Marclay was the first non-rap DJ to make an art form out of the turntable, treating the instrument as a means to rip songs apart, not bridge them together. A long-time associate of Downtown improv figures John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, and Butch Morris as well as the Kronos Quartet, Marclay was inspired artistically by Joseph Beuys and musically by John Cage and the Fluxus group after a period studying at the Massachusetts College of Art. He noted the experimental applications made possible...
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F**k S**t Up, Christian Marclay
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