Loren Mazzacane Connors


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Hell's Kitchen Park (1991), 6/10
Come Night (1991), 7/10
Moonyean (1994), 6.5/10
9th Avenue (1995), 4/10
Live At Downtown Music Gallery (1995), 4/10
Crucible (1996), 4/10
Long Nights (1996), 6.5/10
Two Nights (1996), 4/10
Live in NYC (1996), 4/10
Vol II (1997), 4/10
Mercury (1997), 5/10
The Carmelites (1997), 4/10
Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! (1997), 4/10
Calloden Harvest (1997), 6.5/10
The Bridge (1998), 4/10
MMMR (1998), 4/10
Hoffman Estates (1998), 4/10
The Enchanted Forest (1998), 4/10
A Possible Dawn (1998), 6.5/10
Evangeline (1998), 7/10
Airs (1999), 6/10
Let the Darkess Fall (1999), 4/10
Up In Flames (1999), 4/10
In Bern (1999), 4/10
The Lost Mariner (1999), 4/10
In Twlight (1999), 4/10
St Vincent's Newsboy Home (1999), 4/10
Portrait of a Soul (2000), 6/10
Haunted House at Downtown Music Gallery (2000), 4/10
For NY 9/11/01 (2001), 4/10
This Past Spring (2001), 4/10
The Departing of a Dream, 4/10
Lullaby (2001), 4/10
The Little Match Girl (2001), 6.5/10
Sails (2006), 6.5/10
Links:

Loren Mazzacane Connors is an avantgarde composer and improviser who has bridged several genres with his technique.

Born in New Haven (Connecticut), Connors was educated at blues, classical, rock and folk guitar. No surprise, therefore, that his eight-volume series of acoustic improvisations Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 1-8 (Daggett, 1978 - Ecstatic Peace, 1999) was hard to classify. These abstract country/blues/gospel/folk meditations were followed by Solos & Duets Vol 1 & Vol 2 (Daggett, 1982) with guitarist Robert Crotty and the solo guitar album Portrait (1983).

At the same time he also launched a second career by accompanying folk-singer Kath Bloom in a more traditional setting: Gifts (Daggett, 1978), Sand In My Shoes (St Joan), Restless Faithful Desperate, Round His Shoulders Gonna Be A Rainbow (Daggett), Sing the Children Over (Ambiguous, 1982), A Dwight Chapel Concert (Daggett, 1982), Pushin' Up Daisies (Daggett, 1983), Guitar Pieces (Daggett, 1983). These albums with Bloom will be reissued as 1981-84 (Megalon, 2000).

In 1984 Connors even abandoned music for a few years. His subsequent recordings (largely self-released) came out under the monikers Loren Mazzacane, Loren Mattei and Guitar Roberts. Guitar Roberts released Bluesmaster 1 & 2 (St Joan, 1988), In Pittsburgh (St Joan, 1989), 1981-1989 (St Joan, 1989), The Dark Paintings of Mark Rothko (St Joan, 1990). Mazzacane released Rooms (St Joan, 1990). They are mostly embarrassing.

In 1991 he moved to New York and released one of his best, Hell's Kitchen Park (Black Label, 1991), melancholy and romantic evocation of domestic tragedies.

Come Night (What Next, 1991) features vocalist Suzanne Langille, saxophonist George Cartwright and drummer Brian Johnson, and contains 16 atmospheric jazz-blues vignettes. It will remain one of his best.

Then came the deluge: Moonyean (Road Cone, 1994), for which the term "ambient" is appropriate but also exhuding an almost religious feeling, the more conventional 9th Avenue (Black Label, 1995), Crucible (Black Label, 1996) with Suzanne Langille, and Long Nights (Table of the Elements, 1996), one of his most experimental works.

The list of collaborations is endless: Live At Downtown Music Gallery (Persona Non Grata, 1995) and Vol II (Menlo Park, 1997) with guitarist Keiji Haino; Two Nights (Road Cone, 1996), Live in NYC (New World of Sound, 1996), and Mercury (Road Cone, 1997) with guitarist Alan Licht; MMMR (Numero Zero, 1998) with Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth (three self-indulging jams that are basically the left-overs of A Possible Dawn); Hoffman Estates (Drag City, 1998) with Alan Licht, Jim O'Rourke, Ken Vandermark, Kevin Drumm and others; The Enchanted Forest (Secretly Canadian, 1998), Let the Darkess Fall (Secretly Canadian, 1999), Up In Flames (Erstwhile, 1999), and Haunted House at Downtown Music Gallery (Black Label, 2000), with Suzanne Langille and others; In Bern (Hat Noir, 1999) with Jim O'Rourke; The Lost Mariner (Family Vineyard, 1999) and This Past Spring (Family Vineyard, 2001) with bassist Darin Gray. With very few exceptions these are demonstrations of how to waste a talent.

The triple album Harmony of the Spheres (Drunken, Fish, 1999) contains Mazzacane's four-part suite Revolt

Calloden Harvest (Road Cone, 1997) is one of his harshest and least organic works, but also one of the most powerful. The 26-minute stream of consciousness of Premonition feels like a sort of supernatural raga. Slow, anemic pulses radiate from an unfocused center. Dust rises in fitful bursts and then placidly falls back down to earth. The gothic component of his music finds an adequate vehicle in Come Death Lord Cromwell, seven minutes of loud glissandos that soars in a frantic orgasm.

He became even more prolific (and less significant) at the turn of the millennium: The Carmelites (P-Vine, 1997), Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! (Lotus Sound, 1997), The Bridge (Megalon, 1998), A Possible Dawn (Hat Noir, 1998), an unusually (for him) neurotic work that turns his trademark ethereal atmospheres into subdued nightmares, Evangeline (Road Cone, 1998), perhaps the best of this period (and a return to his humble, gentle roots), Airs (Road Cone, 1999), also on the quieter side of his art, In Twlight (Alien 8, 1999), St Vincent's Newsboy Home (Item, 1999), Portrait of a Soul (FBWL, 2000), one of the best, For NY 9/11/01 (Black Label, 2001), The Departing of a Dream, a remix of For NY 9/11/01, Lullaby (Carbon, 2001).

The first six tracks on The Little Match Girl (Road Cone, 2001) are short and purely evocative. The guitar strings are barely caressed, and the tones spread like scents. These fragile creatures live and die a brief life of gentle spasms. The Dawn is a larger, sinister creature: a dark, echoing chamber that breathes. The next seven tracks compose a suite, The Art Of The Blues, but little differentiates them from the first six, except maybe a more spectral, purer, zen-like quality.

Airs 1992-2001 (Black Label, 2002) is an anthology.

The mini-album Arborvitae (Hapna) is a collaboration with Gastr Del Sol's David Grubbs. The Murder Of Joan Of Arc (Table Of The Elements, 2004) is a one-sided EP. Juliet (Family Vineyard, 2004), the third part of The Departing of a Dream, is notable mainly for the lengthy Her Love. Meditations On The Ascension of Blind Joe Death (Ecstatic, 2005) is a collaboration with Christina Carter of Charalambides and is dedicated to John Fahey.

The shadow of John Fahey also envelops the double-CD Sails (Table Of The Elements, 2006), that contains the eight-movement Pretty As Ever, the three-movement Trinity, the two-part Portrait Of A Fool and the colossal Sails.

Unfortunately Connors has diluted his art over dozens of mediocre (and limited edition) albums.

The triple-CD Night Through (Family Vineyard, 2006) collects singles, rarities and more than twenty unreleased pieces.

The double-disc As Roses Bow - Collected Airs 1992 - 2002 (Family Vineyard, 2007) collects his melodies inspired by Irish traditionals.

The double-CD Manhattan Tuesday contains the seven-movement Afternoon of Insensitivity, recorded in september 2005. The Hymn of the North Star (Family Vineyard, recorded in fall 2006) is a duet with Alan Licht. Thin Air documents a live jam with Steve Dalachinksy recorded in 2000.

Two Nice Catholic Boys (Family Vineyard, 2009) and Are You Going To Stop... In Bern? (december 1997 - 2010) document collaborations between Loren Connors and Jim O'Rourke.

Into the Night Sky (Family Vineyard, 2010) and Lost City (AudioMER, 2015) were new collaborations with Alan Licht.

Disguised as Guitar Roberts, Loren Mazzacane Connors released Red Mars (Family Vineyard, 2011), his first disc of new material since 2004.

Blue Ghost Blues (Northern Spy, 2011) was credited to the Haunted House Band.

(Northern Spy, 2012) I Wish I Didn't Dream was a new collaboration between Loren Mazzacane Connors (guitar) and Suzanne Langille (vocals).

The Only Way to Go Is Straight Through (Northern Spy, 2013) documents a collaboration with Thurston Moore.

The Curse Of Midnight Mary (Family Vineyard, 2015) restores a lost recording from 1981.

Two Nice Catholic Boys (Family Vineyard, 2015) documents a live collaboration with Jim O'Rourke from 1997.

The avalanche of recordings included: A Fire (Family Vineyard, 2013), My Brooklyn (Analogpath, 2014), Vapour Theories (Carbon, 2014), Live in New York (Family Vineyard, 2015), The Departing of a Dream Vol. V (Family Vineyard, 2016), The Departing of a Dream Vol. VI (Family Vineyard, 2016), Angels That Fall (Family Vineyard, 2017), Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 10 (Blank Forms, 2018), The Departing of a Dream Vol. VII (Family Vineyard, 2019), Beautiful Dreamer (Family Vineyard, 2020), etc.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Andrea Angelini)

Loren Mazzacane Connors è un compositore e improvvisatore avant-garde che, attraverso le sue performance chitarristiche, si è dimostrato capace di spaziare tra numerosi generi.

Nato a New Haven (Connecticut), Connors ha avuto una formazione blues, ma anche classica, rock e folk. Difatti non è un caso che la sua serie di otto volumi Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 1-8 (Daggett, 1978 - Ecstatic Peace, 1999) contenga improvvisazioni acustiche di difficile classificazione. Queste meditazioni astratte che uniscono country, blues, gospel e folk sono seguite da Solos & Duets Vol 1 & Vol 2 (Daggett, 1982), testimonianza della collaborazione con il collega Robert Crotty, mentre l’anno seguente esce Portrait (1983).

Nello stesso periodo, ha tentato anche una seconda carriera come accompagnatore musicale della cantante folk Kath Bloom: questo progetto alle stampe Gifts (Daggett, 1978), Sand In My Shoes (St Joan), Restless Faithful Desperate, Round His Shoulders Gonna Be A Rainbow (Daggett), Sing the Children Over (Ambiguous, 1982), A Dwight Chapel Concert (Daggett, 1982), Pushin' Up Daisies (Daggett, 1983), Guitar Pieces (Daggett, 1983). Questi album verranno ripubblicati come 1981-84 (Megalon, 2000).

Nel 1984, Mazzacane abbandona la musica per qualche anno. I suoi lavori successivi (perlopiù autoprodotti) escono sotto il nome Loren Mazzacane e sotto i moniker Loren Mattei e Guitar Roberts. Con quest’ultimo pseudonimo rilascia Bluesmaster 1 & 2 (St Joan, 1988), In Pittsburgh (St Joan, 1989), 1981-1989 (St Joan, 1989), The Dark Paintings of Mark Rothko (St Joan, 1990); mentre con il suo vero nome pubblica Rooms (St Joan, 1990): si tratta di lavori perlopiù mediocri.

Nel 1991 si traferisce a New York e realizza una delle sue opere più riuscite, Hell's Kitchen Park (Black Label, 1991), in cui viene evocata la drammatica malinconia delle tragedie  domestiche.

Come Night (What Next, 1991) può vantare la partecipazione di Suzanne Langille, del sassofonista George Cartwright e del batterista Brian Johnson. Contenente 16 atmosferiche pennellate di jazz-blues, è ancora oggi uno dei suoi progetti migliori.

Seguono una valanga di lavori: Moonyean (Road Cone, 1994) è catalogabile come “ambient  e trasuda un sentimento quasi religioso, 9th Avenue (Black Label, 1995) è più convenzionale, mentre Crucible (Black Label, 1996) è una collaborazione con la compagna di vita Suzanne Langille. Long Nights (Table of the Elements, 1996) è uno dei suoi lavori più intrinseci e sperimentali.

La lista di collaborazioni è infinita: Live At Downtown Music Gallery (Persona Non Grata, 1995) e Vol II (Menlo Park, 1997) con il chitarrista Keiji Haino; Two Nights (Road Cone, 1996), Live in NYC (New World of Sound, 1996), e Mercury (Road Cone, 1997) con il chitarrista Alan Licht; MMMR (Numero Zero, 1998) con Thurston Moore e Lee Ranaldo dei Sonic Youth (tre jam di fatto avanzi di A Possible Dawn); Hoffman Estates (Drag City, 1998) con Alan Licht, Jim O'Rourke, Ken Vandermark, Kevin Drumm ed altri; The Enchanted Forest (Secretly Canadian, 1998), Let the Darkess Fall (Secretly Canadian, 1999), Up In Flames (Erstwhile, 1999), e Haunted House at Downtown Music Gallery (Black Label, 2000), con Suzanne Langille ed altri; In Bern (Hat Noir, 1999) con Jim O'Rourke; The Lost Mariner (Family Vineyard, 1999) e This Past Spring (Family Vineyard, 2001) con il bassista Darin Gray. Salvo qualche eccezione, si tratta di uno spreco di talento.

L’album triplo Harmony of the Spheres (Drunken, Fish, 1999) contiene la suite in quattro parti Revolt.

Calloden Harvest (Road Cone, 1997) è uno dei risultati più aspri e inorganici, ma allo stesso tempo potenti, del chitarrista americano. I 26 minuti di Premonition diventano un flusso di coscienza giostrato da un raga sovrannaturale. Lente e anemiche pulsazioni si dipanano da un nucleo evanescente e la polvere si eleva in nervosi scoppiettii per poi ritornare placidamente sui propri passi. La componente gotica della sua musica alberga adeguatamente in Come Death Lord Cromwell, sette minuti di potenti glissando che si innalzano in un orgasmo spasmodico.

Connors diventa ancora più prolifico (ma meno considerevole) agli sgoccioli del XX secolo: escono The Carmelites (P-Vine, 1997), Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! (Lotus Sound, 1997), The Bridge (Megalon, 1998) e A Possible Dawn (Hat Noir, 1998), un inusuale lavoro (nel suo caso) che trasforma il suo marchio di fabbrica (atmosfere eteree) in incubi sommessi. Evangeline (Road Cone, 1998) è forse il migliore di questo periodo, segnando anche un ritorno alle sue radici più umili. Airs (Road Cone, 1999) rivela il suo lato più silenzioso e pacato. Seguono In Twilight (Alien 8, 1999), St Vincent's Newsboy Home (Item, 1999), Portrait of a Soul (FBWL, 2000), For NY 9/11/01 (Black Label, 2001), The Departing of a Dream, un remix di For NY 9/11/01, Lullaby (Carbon, 2001).

Le prime sei tracce di The Little Match Girl (Road Cone, 2001) sono brevi e profondamente evocative. Le corde della chitarra vengono a malapena accarezzate e i toni si diffondono come odori. Questi fragili pupilli vivono una vita breve per poi morire in candidi spasmi. The Dawn è una creatura più grossa e sinistra, un’oscura camera echeggiante che respira. Le successive sette tracce compongono una suite, The Art Of The Blues, che si differenzia solamente per una veste più spettrale e atarassica.

Airs 1992-2001 (Black Label, 2002) è una raccolta di tracce prodotte nel periodo più prolifico dell’artista.

Il mini-album Arborvitae (Hapna) è una collaborazione con David Grubbs dei Gastr Del Sol. The Murder Of Joan Of Arc (Table Of The Elements, 2004) è un’EP con un solo lato. Juliet (Family Vineyard, 2004), la terza parte di The Departing of a Dream, è notevole soprattutto per la lunga Her Love. Meditations On The Ascension of Blind Joe Death (Ecstatic, 2005) è una collaborazione con Christina Carter (Charalambides), nonché un omaggio a John Fahey.

Lo spirito di Fahey permane anche nel doppio CD Sails (Table Of The Elements, 2006), che contiene Pretty As Ever (in otto movimenti), Trinity (in due movimenti), le due sezioni di Portrait Of A Fool e la colossale Sails.

Sfortunatamente Mazzacane ha stemperato la sua arte attraverso dozzine di album mediocri.

Il triplo CD Night Through (Family Vineyard, 2006) raccoglie singoli, rarità e più di venti brani inediti. As Roses Bow - Collected Airs 1992 - 2002 (Family Vineyard, 2007) contiene melodie che si ispirano alla tradizione irlandese.

Manhattan Tuesday è un doppio album che racchiude i sette movimenti di Afternoon of Insensitivity (registrato nel settembre del 2005). The Hymn of the North Star (Family Vineyard, autunno 2006) è un duetto con Alan Licht. Un’improvvisazione dal vivo del 2000 con il poeta Steve Dalachinsky alla luce Thin Air.

Two Nice Catholic Boys (Family Vineyard, 2009) e Are You Going To Stop... In Bern? (dicembre 1997 - 2010) rivedono la partecipazione di Jim O’Rourke.

Into the Night Sky (Family Vineyard, 2010) e Lost City (AudioMER, 2015) sono nuove collaborazioni con Alan Licht.

Sotto le vesti di Guitar Roberts, Loren Mazzacane Connors rilascia Red Mars (Family Vineyard, 2011), che attesta l’uscita di nuovo materiale dopo ben sette anni.

Con la Haunted House Band esce Blue Ghost Blues (Northern Spy, 2011).

La voce di Suzanne Langille si ripresenta al fianco delle corde di Loren in I Wish I Didn't Dream (Northern Spy, 2012).

The Only Way to Go Is Straight Through (Northern Spy, 2013) è il risultato di una collaborazione con Thurston Moore.

The Curse Of Midnight Mary (Family Vineyard, 2015) riporta in vita una registrazione perduta del 1981.

Two Nice Catholic Boys (Family Vineyard, 2015) documenta una performance dal vivo del 1997 con Jim O’Rourke.

La miriade di registrazioni del chitarrista includono anche: A Fire (Family Vineyard, 2013), My Brooklyn (Analogpath, 2014), Vapour Theories (Carbon, 2014), Live in New York (Family Vineyard, 2015), The Departing of a Dream Vol. V (Family Vineyard, 2016), The Departing of a Dream Vol. VI (Family Vineyard, 2016), Angels That Fall (Family Vineyard, 2017), Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 10 (Blank Forms, 2018), The Departing of a Dream Vol. VII (Family Vineyard, 2019), Beautiful Dreamer (Family Vineyard, 2020), etc.

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