Lentz in the lens

The whole Southern Californian ‘pretty music’, minimalism and postminimal scene that came up from the late 1960s and after is very complementary to the British experimental scene. Some of the connections are there (Harold Budd’s work with Brian Eno on Obscure Recordings, for instance); some are just really happy parallels. This week, two items about Daniel Lentz came into my personal Facebook account. Lentz is one of the twin pillars of the Los Angeles ‘pretty music’ scene (along with Harold Budd). His music is sometimes almost liturgically ritual, often lush and sensual, intimate, occasionally funny, and, yes, often very, very pretty. Daniel Lentz’s music is always well worth checking out (as is his artwork). (For those who don’t know his work, here’s his website: ).

But back to last week’s Lentz. The first is a link to YouTube. It’s a mid-1980s American children’s TV show called Reading Rainbow, hosted by LeVar Burton, in which ‘Is It Love’, a piece from Lentz’s album The Leopard Altar is set to an animation. It’s a delight of bright digital sound. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzQrYTWdNCA&feature=youtu.be . It’s worth chasing up the whole track, which lasts about nine gorgeous minutes.

The second Lentz item is a piece from 1977, and was sent to us by Janyce Collins, performer, teacher, and pilot. This piece is called Flying Alleluia for 29 Hang Gliders, a piece in which each hang-glider pilot either sings a note, or installs a wind-operated Aeolian reed on their machine. The 29 pitches are played as each pilot launches in score order, so that ‘massed listeners’ below the flight path will hear the Alleluia plainsong. We do hope that someone performs this again, and that it will be a good day when we’re there to hear it.

Author: Virginia

Virginia Anderson is a writer who messes with the EMC Blog. She specialises in the study of experimental, minimalist, and free improvisatory music. She also plays clarinet, and has recorded on Zanja, Advance, and Rastascan Recordings, specialising in new works for Eb clarinet and free improvisation.