Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn’t open, click the iTunes icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from Lesson No. 1 by Glenn Branca, download iTunes now.

Do you already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

Lesson No. 1

Open iTunes to preview, buy and download music.

Album Review

Lesson No. 1 was Glenn Branca's first release as a composer. Originally issued as a 12" EP, or mini-album, it featured two tracks, the beautiful and accessible title track — composed as a response to listening to Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and the frenetically assaultive "Dissonance," which has lost none of its power. The players on this date were organist Anthony Coleman, drummer Stephen Wischerth, F.L.Schroder on bass, Branca and Michael Gross on guitars and, on the latter track, Harry Spitz on Sledgehammer. This compact disc reissue on Acute contains "Bad Smells," an unreleased track from the Ascension sessions that came two years later. The band here features five guitarists: Branca, David Rosenbloom, Ned Sublette, Lee Ranaldo, and Thurston Moore, as well as bassist Jeffrey Glenn and Wischerth. There is also a QuickTime video movie of "Symphony No. 5" included. One of the most compelling things about this release is how fully developed Branca's ideas were even at this early juncture. His micro- and over-tonal notions as overlooked visceral elements in rock & roll prove worthy mettle here, and even on "Dissonance" with its catharsis and knotty harmonics, rock & roll is never far from the fore in his method. "Bad Smells" has a different, more complex dynamic, especially from the outset, but the sense of urgency is there, along with the shimmering, barely hidden melodic frames that keep the entire thing evolving on the axis of its pulse. Guitarist Alan Licht provides a fine critical history and appreciation in his liner notes, making for a historically relevant package. But in spite of its obvious contribution not only to vanguard music, but to Sonic Youth's sound, the music here is actually pleasant and compelling to listen to, and does not sound like a relic out of time and space, or a curiosity piece from long ago. Lesson No. 1 is a powerful, wrenching, transcendent piece of rock guitar classicism that, if there is any justice, will get a wider and more appreciative hearing in the new century.


Born: 06 October 1948 in Harrisburg, PA

Genre: Classical

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

Glenn Branca's compositions center around multiple guitars -- four or more, heavily amplified -- augmented by a rock-based rhythm section of drums and bass. In later works, the composer began adding other instruments, including mallet guitar, keyboards, and occasionally a second drummer. Branca's minimalist compositions frequently require unusual guitar tunings -- more recent works have them strung with two sets of three strings tuned an octave apart. Many of downtown New York City's more notable...
Full bio