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***BACK IN PRINT ON VINYL!!!  Glenn Branca’s first full-length album The Ascension is a colossal achievement. After touring much of 1980 with an all-star band featuring four guitarists (Branca, fellow composers Ned Sublette and David Rosenbloom, and future Sonic Youth member Lee Ranaldo) along with Jeffrey Glenn on bass and Stephan Wischerth on drums, Branca took his war-torn group into a studio in Hell’s Kitchen to record five incendiary compositions. Originally released in the summer of 1981, The Ascension effectively tears down the genre-ghettos between 20th century avant-garde and ecstatic rock ’n’ roll.  On “The Spectacular Commodity,” chiming, shimmering tones unfold into sinister drone-territory à la Tony Conrad, while abrasive guitars and repetitive beats retain the raw primitivism of No Wave. The title track attains a densely packed, larger-than-life sound and (as author Marc Masters says best) “never stops climbing skyward.” With artist Robert Longo’s stark front cover that depicts Branca battling an unidentified man, The Ascension is a must-have record not only for fans of early Swans and Sonic Youth, but also of Steve Reich or Slint’s Tweez.

LP $22.00

11/25/2014 857176003560 

SV 056 


After cutting his teeth in the late ’70s no wave scene with bands Theoretical Girls and The Static, Glenn Branca made his first solo statement, Lesson No. 1, in 1980. The inaugural release on legendary post-punk / dance label 99 Records, Lesson No. 1 unveiled Branca’s visionary guitar concepts with two monstrous, side-long compositions that helped forge NYC’s downtown art-punk sound and acted as a massive influence on countless young groups, including Sonic Youth and Swans. The title track is easily Branca’s most accessible moment; its driving beat and interlocking patterns resemble German pioneers Neu! playing Phillip Glass. Never before (or since) has minimalism sounded so euphoric. “Dissonance” is the A-side’s polar opposite. Dark, skittish and unhinged, Branca leads his band (guitar, keyboard, bass, drums and sledgehammer) through block after block of industrial terror, leaving listeners drained in the process. Soon after the release of Lesson No. 1, Branca began to work on ambitious, long-form symphonies. “Bad Smells,” included here as a single-sided bonus 12-inch, was commissioned in 1982 as a dance piece for choreographer Twyla Tharp and originally released on a split LP with John Giorno. Featuring Sonic Youth guitarists Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, “Bad Smells” is a thrilling multi-section guitar assault that foretells much of Branca, Ranaldo and Moore’s work for the next decade.

2X12" $17.50

02/18/2014 857176003393 

SV 039