Julius Eastman - Femenine

Julius Eastman — Femenine

Frozen Reeds, 1974/2016

Julius Eastman is probably best known for the “N****r Series,” and for the explosive combination of linguistic violence with open-form compositional minimalism. He used his own identity — hinging on his blackness and his queerness — and dug deep trenches in the landscape of the 20th century musical avant-garde. On November 6th, 1974, Eastman and a small chamber orchestra recorded Feminine, a rigorously experimental fusion of improvisational jazz with neoclassical minimalism. There are hints of John Cage, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and that whole school of composers, but Eastman’s work is defined by a characteristic sort of looseness. This music breathes in a way that’s both really wonderful and also totally confusing for the listener’s ear. It’s a weird, long, listen, but one that rewards extended rumination. Take 72 minutes and enjoy its recursive beauty.

 

1. Feminine [1:12:35]

 

Will Gottsegen