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
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.
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 her 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.
Are You Going To Stop... In Bern? (december 1997 - 2010) documents a collaboration between Loren Connors and Jim O'Rourke
Disguised as Guitar Roberts, Loren Mazzacane Connors released Red Mars (Family Vineyard, 2011), his first disc of new material since 2004.
(Northern Spy, 2012) I Wish I Didn't Dream was a new collaboration between Loren Mazzacane Connors (guitar) and Suzanne Langille (vocals).
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.
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