Julius Eastman - The N***** Series 2LPBlume (Italy)
2019 repress. Very limited double-LP bundled version of the two individual LPs, 180 gram color vinyl. Includes printed inner, Nagaoka anti-static record sleeve, plus and Obi-style insert in a fold-out outer sleeve. Only a handful of years ago, the name Julius Eastman would have been met by a unanimous blank look. The legacy of this once-darling of the New York post-minimal avant-garde had, since his untimely death at the age of 49, in 1990, been almost entirely lost. Eastman's story is as fascinating as they come: black, angry, and queer in an all too polite, straight white musical world. A prodigy and genius whose music took him to astounding heights, whose unwillingness to conform and play by the rules took him down the path of drug abuse and homelessness, as well as the loss of his scores. Even before his death, he was already a forgotten name. Eastman belongs to a generation of composers who inherited the mantel left by minimalism, but despite being highly respected by his peers, he was given few chances to record his work, relegating most of his talent as a singer and pianist to the realization of others' work. It was Eastman who conducted the iconic recording of Arthur Russell's Tower of Meaning, and whose piano cuts its way across the 1976 recording of Morton Feldman's For Frank O'Hara. It's likely that Eastman's work would have been entirely lost, had it not been for rigorous efforts of a few close friends, the most persistent of whom was the composer, Mary Jane Leach, who spent years tracking down his lost scores. These efforts eventually led to the comprehensive CD collection, Unjust Malaise (2005). It was the beginning of a turning tide, and over the 13 years since, Eastman's singular voice has slowly returned to the audience he always deserved. It also represented the recorded debut of some his most thrilling and controversial work, three compositions for piano from what he called the N*gger Series: Gay Guerrilla, Evil N*gger, and Crazy N*gger. The three pieces are now issued across two LPs in their first-ever vinyl release with extensive liner notes by Leach and Bradford Bailey. These three seminal works by one of the most important, but neglected, American composers of the 1970s and '80s, return to the light once more. Not only are they an entire rethinking of musical minimalism, but they ferociously blow the doors off of what classical music can be. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. All three compositions on these 2 LPs are for piano quartet: Performed by: Frank Ferko, Janet Kattas, Julius Eastman, Patricia Martin. Recorded 1979/80.