Sonic Youth Goodbye 20th Century

Although some might argue that the 20th century isn’t really over until 2001, it’s still an appropriate time to acknowledge the 20th century composers that shaped the “modern” vanguard of music that I somehow doubt will ever by dubbed “old hat.” Ageing hipsters Sonic Youth are the ideal candidate to pay tribute to these avant compositions that influenced their own creations within the rock idiom. Joining the Youth for their interpretations of work by Steve Reich, James Tenny, Pauline Oliveros and John Cage are experienced avant-artists like Jim O’Rourke, Christian Wolff and Christian Marclay. Pauline Oliveros’s “Six For New Time” was composed specifically for Sonic Youth and makes full use of the band’s ability to build aggressive tension while James Tenny’s slowly expanding and fading “Having Never Written A Note For Percussion” from 1971 is also perfect for the Youth’s love of that wall-of-noise effect. Particularly impressive is John Cage’s half-hour sound collage “Four(6),” which journeys into a variety of directions in rhythm, electronics and tone. The funniest track has to go to Yoko Ono’s 1961 composition “Voice Piece for Soprano” as performed by Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s kid, who sounds like she was plopped in front of a microphone and poked with knitting needles. When the 20th century ends do creations like these suddenly become old school? (SYR)