Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Well-Tuned Piano

Listening to the first hour of La Monte Young’s magnum opus The Well-Tuned Piano - four hours left to go so my morning’s listening is laid out before me… This is another huge favourite of mine that is crying out for a CD re-issue, although I won’t hold my breath given Young’s disinterest in issuing his work on CD or any other format. Fortunately I have an excellent quality mp3 rip of the album but I miss out on the album’s liner notes and the beautiful cover photo taken at the Lower Manhattan Dream House building draped in Marian Zazeela’s signature magenta lighting and featuring La Monte Young at the piano. The Well-Tuned Piano was last issued on CD way back in 1987 on the Gramavision label, packaged in a 12” box housing the 5 CDs and a large 24-page booklet. Copies of the set are out there but are prohibitively expensive to buy and more often than not the boxes are beaten up from shelf ware. The best copy currently for sale on Discogs is going for €746. Just once I’d like to wander into a used record store and find this in the racks of the unsellables for a few quid...

I very much like Marian Zazeela's calligraphy which adorns the front cover of The Well-Tuned Piano. A quick google search has led me to gallery of Marian Zazeela posters designed for Dream House events, and featuring her distinctive and beautiful calligraphic style. I rarely write anything by hand these days apart from the odd bit of paperwork that needs to be filled out so these designs are something to savor. Some examples... and more here

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