Book of Days – Meredith Monk (1988)

“Meredith Monk’s films and stage pieces contain visions of the past, particularly visions of her own Jewish heritage, which she uses to make sense of the present. Her early films Quarry (1975) and Ellis Island (1979) are silent, poetic meditations, using spare, black and white images, almost devoid of movement, to convey visions that are both thoughtful and urgent. In Book of Days (1988), her new film (released in two versions, one for theaters and a slightly shorter one for television), she tries to take the concerns and techniques of the earlier films and expand them into a full-length narrative with color and sync-sound. Her techniques do not make the leap into the feature-film format, and the formal devices she adopts do not convey her visions quite as powerfully as the ones she used in her earlier films. …”
The Films of Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk: Book of Days (ECM New Series 1399)
W – Book of Days (Meredith Monk album)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Churchyard Entertainment (Live)


Dial-A-Poem Poets – Big Ego (1978)

“American label set up in 1972 by the poet John Giorno, the earliest releases were exclusively poetry collections of the ‘Dial-A-Poets’ (John Giorno, William S Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Allen Ginsberg, John Cage etc.): ‘In 1961 I was a young poet who hung out with young artists like Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, as well as with members of the Judson Dance Theatre. The use of modern mass media and technologies by these artists made me realize that poetry was 75 years behind painting and sculpture, dance and music. And I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I do it for poetry. Why not try to connect with an audience using all the entertainments of ordinary life: television, the telephone, record albums, etc? It was the poet’s job to invent new venues and make fresh contact with the audience. This inspiration gave rise to Giorno Poetry Systems.’ – John Giorno”
Discogs: Various ‎– Big Ego
UbuWeb (Video)

Lovely Music

“Founded in 1978, Lovely Music is one of the longest-lived and most distinctive independent labels active in the recording and promotion of new American music. According to label founder Mimi Johnson, the label is ‘dedicated to releasing the best in avant-garde and experimental music, from electronics and computer music to new opera and extended vocal techniques.’ Placing emphasis on the artist’s intent, Lovely Music recordings are always composer-supervised and produced. The record label was founded by Johnson as an adjunct to the activities of Performing Artservices, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the management and administration of American avant-garde artists working in the fields of music, dance and theater. When these artists were not able to get their music out to the record-buying public, Lovely was put forth as a solution. …”
Lovely Music: About
Lovely Music
W – Lovely Music

Tom Johnson – The Voice of New Music: New York 1972-1982

“The ten years, from 1972-1982, during which Tom Johnson closely followed the developments in the new music in New York and reported his experiences in the Village Voice, constitute the most innovative and experimental period of recent musical history. A considerable number of his articles and reviews has been brought together in this collection. Together they provide a lively impression of the genesis and the exciting adventure of the new music, of the diversity of utterances that were part of it from the very start, and of the circumstances and opinions which prompted it. Johnson recorded the emergence of a generation of composers and musicians which has set out to probe once more all conventions of the Western musical tradition and to remove the barriers between different cultures and various artistic disciplines. That process is still in full swing. Therefore it is of interest today to read how that process was triggered.”
W – Tom Johnson
[PDF] The Voice of New Music: New York 1972-1982

Meredith Monk – Dolmen Music (1980)

Meredith Monk has such a wonderful and unique vocal style that she is able to sing in complete abstraction (no known words or language for much of the album) yet maintain a very emotional and even sentimental quality in these abstractions, at times. Listeners who can get past just how unique and abstract her approach is will find immense joy and sadness deep within her pieces. On Dolmen Music, Monk wavers from being sad to the point of being quite morose (such as the tracks ‘Gotham Lullaby’ and ‘The Tale’) to being happy to the point of hysteria (as on ‘Traveling’ and ‘Biography’) without skipping a beat. Most of the musical accompaniment is minimalist (mainly piano with occasional, sparse percussion, guest vocalists also being prominent on the final six-part track ‘Dolmen Music’). This minimalist support only furthers Monk‘s vast vocal language as the prominent focus in the recordings. Listeners will also be very pleased to find that her wonderful voice is not crowded or overshadowed. A true original, Monk‘s work should be sought by anyone with an interest in vocal exploration. ”
allmusic (Audio)
W – Dolmen Music
The Paris Review: Gotham Lullaby
amazon, Spotify, iTunes
YouTube: Dolmen Music film by Peter Greenaway 1983
DailyMotion: Dolmen Music
vimeo: Travelling
YouTube: Gotham Lullaby live at Lensic Center, Education Of The Girlchild – Biography, The Tale