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Tony Conrad

Tony Conrad, Pickled E.K. 7302–244–0502 #11, 2006, 16-mm film, glass jar, vinegar, vegetables, spices, 6 3/4 × 4 × 4". © Tony Conrad Estate.

BEFORE I KNEW Tony Conrad, I knew his work: I was introduced to his films by my professor Ken Jacobs at Harpur College in Binghamton, New York, in 1975. The Flicker, 1966, was a crowning achievement of the kind of structural filmmaking that was being explored in American avant-garde film. In spite of its austerity, it was also wild and psychedelic in concept—the stroboscopic visual effects that the sequences of black-and-white frames created during projection seemed magical. At that time, I had no idea about his history with La Monte Young or, later, John Cale and Lou Reed—collaborations that proved seminal to many different cultural streams that emanated from those days, from rock to Conceptual music to Minimalism, and that continue to resonate as an inspiration to aspects of my own approach to music and certainly to younger musicians looking to expand their horizons.

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