Exposé Online banner

Glenn Branca RIP

Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans.

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-05-14

Glenn BrancaBranca was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1948, and started playing guitar as a teenager. While at York College in the 60s, he started his first band, and later moved to Boston to study theater. He moved to New York in 1976 intending to work in experimental theater, though he was also intrigued by the burgeoning punk scene.

He founded Neutral Records in 1982, releasing the first album by Sonic Youth, among other artists. He started composing for ensembles of electric guitars in the early 80s as well, starting with Lesson No. 1, and his first full length album was The Ascension (1981).

He invented a number of instruments to play his music, mostly electrified string instruments, and formed The Glenn Branca Ensemble to perform his works. He also composed for orchestra, though the electric guitar remained his primary focus.

In February 2015, Branca's second piece for 100 electric guitars, "Symphony No. 16 (Orgasm)", was premiered at Cité de la Musique in Paris. On May 14, 2018, his wife announced on Facebook that he had died of throat cancer.


Filed under: Obituaries

Related artist(s): Glenn Branca, Sonic Youth

More info
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/may/14/glenn-branca-dead-guitarist-composer

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

XII Alfonso - Under – Apparently taking a break from their three-part tribute to painter Claude Monet, this French band has put out this lush instrumental concept album. You might typically say that an instrumental concept...  (2010) » Read more

The Long Dead Sevens - The White Waltz & Other Stories – The Long Dead Sevens, an interesting name and an interesting band. Picture if you will, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds covering Leonard Cohen with a dash of Tom Waits thrown in for good measure and you...  (2009) » Read more

Cos - Viva Boma – Here we have Musea’s reissue of Cos’ second album, recorded in 1976. In addition to the original album Musea included four bonus tracks recorded in Cos’ rehearsal room on a 4-track...  (1997) » Read more

David Helpling - Between Green and Blue – The dreamlike textures and flowing moods offered on Between Green and Blue give this a slightly different feel than many of the SPM releases before it. There is a lot of territory explored herein,...  (1997) » Read more

Ruins - Vrresto – Vrresto is classic Ruins as we’ve come to know them over the last eight or so releases, a high intensity power duo of drums, bass and operatic vocals that is often compared to Magma — a...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues