Okay, I’ll be honest. I throw the terms “life-changing” and “greatest thing ever” around way too much, but if there was one experience I’ve had that was actually both of those things, it was seeing Alan Licht play live when I was 16 years old. The form of his set that night is permanently embedded in my mind; it started with a beautiful slow burning EBow drone that built up for nearly 20 minutes before the dude put down his guitar and proceeded to completely annihilate his initial soundworld by delicately attacking his massive array of pedals. It was my first real introduction to the world of noise/drone music, and I was hooked from that moment on.
Licht has been pretty quiet in terms of solo releases in recent years, probably because someone has to play guitar with Lee Renaldo and write books about Will Oldham. Luckily, Licht is back with a brand new release for everybody’s favorite label Editions Mego!
Four Years Older seems to be the closest I’ve heard Licht capturing the brutal onslaught of a set that I witnessed back in the day. In this excerpt, Licht’s guitar is characteristically warped beyond belief into a delightful frenzy of electronic tones and feedback, before giving way to a beautiful pitch-shifted chord progression at the end. This is made all the more impressive by the fact that Licht recorded these pieces live without any additional overdubs. Even though Licht has apparently been playing this piece live for four years, let’s hope that he decides to tour it so he can continue to corrupt/convert the next generation of teenagers to the wonderful world of experimental music.
Four Years Older is out April 15 via Editions Mego.