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A New York Minute

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Album Review

This two-CD set samples many sides of Alan Licht's musical persona. What strikes immediately is his resourcefulness and restlessness: no two pieces explore the same ground. Disc One presents four studio works recorded between 1997 and 2003. "A New York Minute" is a 15-minute sound collage of snippets from a month's worth of radio weather reports. It sheds light on how an announcer can "improvise" inside a pre-fabricated, 60-second routine — and how the weatherman would like to have the power to influence your day with his lamentable comments. But even though it is rich in parallel meanings, the piece looses its appeal after only a few listens. On the contrary, "Freaky Friday" gains charm with every listen. A 20-minute multi-tracked guitar piece, it borrows from ambient guitar soundscapes, and post-rock chords to create a rapturing atmosphere. Disc Two contains two 38-minute guitar pieces recorded live in March 2000. "14, Second, Fifth" sails the dividing sea between ambient and noise. Something rattles the strings softly and regularly (a hand-held fan perhaps?) while Licht weaves soaring soundscapes, shifting between a clean and distorted sound. "Remington Khan" starts with a very long fade-in (over three minutes in duration) to reveal a vaguely folk guitar motif over, which Licht knits a series of variations. Peaceful, almost pastoral, compared to what came before, the piece nevertheless challenges folk's structures, and stays true to the guitarist's esthetic of change in repetition. Signal overload in vigorously strummed passages alter the listening pleasure, but it's small picking for a great set. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 06 June 1968 in New Jersey

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

It's something of a cliché to say that a musician "stubbornly refuses to be categorized," but with Alan Licht, that statement is simply the truth. Though the guitarist's body of work encompasses noise rock, alternative pop/rock, improvisational music, free jazz, minimalism, musique concrète, electronics, and plenty of other stops within and outside those boundaries, Licht has managed to do so without ever chaining himself to any one style, and his muse is one of the most unfettered in contemporary...
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A New York Minute, Alan Licht
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