David First

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Privacy Issues (2010) , 7.5/10
The Consummation of Right and Wrong (2020), 6.5/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

David First (1953) was a jazz guitarist who played with Cecil Taylor in 1973, a punk-rocker in Philadelphia whose band Notekillers released the single The Zipper (1980) at the peak of the no-wave movement, an opera composer whose The Manhattan Book of the Dead premiered in 1995, a synthesizer player and an avantgarde composer as documented on Resolver, recorded between 1987 and 1991, and The Good Book's Accurate Jail of Escape Dust Coordinates (1995), and a synth-pop singer-songwriter on Universary (2002). He found his mission in life when he started focusing on massive intricate drones, notably the four of exact equal duration contained in Dave's Waves - A Sonic Restaurant (premiered in 2002 - Ants, 2003).

Privacy Issues (XI, 2010) collects "droneworks" from 1996 to 2009: the 36-minute hypercharged cosmic trip of Zen Guilt/Zen Blame (1996), A Bet on Transcendence Favors the House (1998) for ebow guitar, that stages one of the most dramatic evolutions, My Veil Evades Detection; My Veil Defies Exhaustion; My Veil and I Divorce (2001) for clarinet, guitar, ebow guitar, piano and violin, a solemn fusion of "deep listening" and chamber music, the dissonant and polyphonic The Softening Door (2003) for electronics, possibly the most disorienting and "psychedelic" piece, the 31-minute "rhythmic" Aw (2003) for guitar and electronics, that wraps drones around a dripping-like metronome and then intones a frantic pulsation that becomes more and more anguished, and the sophisticated 41-minute Pipeline Witness Apologies to Dennis (2008) for ebow guitar, computer, electronic keyboards, and two trombones, The latter initially blends howls and hisses in a symphonic manner and then sets in motion a descending scale of rumbles. Towards the end the trombones and the keyboards begin to mumble melodic fragments in an almost tender manner.

He also played in the punk trio Notekillers (with bassist Stephen Bilenky and drummer Barry Halkin) that released We're Here to Help (2010). And Notekillers 1977-81 (2004) documents their early music.

The triple-disc The Consummation of Right and Wrong (2020), a work originally premiered in 2017 and now credited to the Western Enisphere (Jeanann Dara on viola, Sam Kulik on trombone, Jeff Tobias on bass clarinet, James Ilgenfritz on upright bass, Danny Tunick on percussion, Ian Moore on guitar, William Stanton on laptop, and First on guitar, harmonica and whistle) contains 15 droning "scenes", each scored for a different chamber configuration, from solo instrument to octet, plus a 46-minute revision of the second scene as a collective jam. The 14-minute Scene 7 for bass clarinet and bass duet is the highlight, a surreal duet for bass drones that seem to solemnly nag at each other.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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