Eastman, Julius: N****r Series BOX

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After remaining out of print and hotly pursued for five years, Blume Editions returns with a brand-new edition of their 2018 release of Julius Eastman's The N****r Series. Comprising three of his most politically and creatively radical works -- "Evil N****r" (1979) "Gay Guerilla" (1980) and "Crazy N****r" (1980) -- each a shimmering and complex work of post-minimalist piano, this brand new deluxe edition is housed in a beautiful, handmade wooden box, which contains two vinyl LPs, a 12-page booklet with the original liner notes by Mary Jane Leach and Bradford Bailey, a brand new 2500-word essay by Bailey, as well as new unseen pictures courtesy of Roberto Laneri, and a poster. Over the last decade and a half, it's been incredible to witness the ascending star of the composer Julius Eastman. A celebrated figure within the New York experimental music scene during the 1970s and '80s, over the years following his untimely death in 1990 he and his work drifted into sinful neglect. Largely thanks to a series of archival releases attending to his work, and a handful of new renderings by Apartment House, Wild Up, So Percussion, Kukuruz Quartet, and number of ensembles, attention has finally come his way, placing him at the center of the consciousness of a new generation of listeners. During his tragically brief life, Julius Eastman burned like a wild fire. A brilliant composer, pianist, and vocalist who, with contemporaries like Arthur Russell, Arnold Dreyblatt, Ellen Fullman, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca, and numerous others, pioneered the development of post-minimal music, he was among only a handful African American artists at the center of New York's experimental music scene during the 1970s and '80s. Contentious, confrontational, and brash, he was also among the first artists to draw the subjects of ethnicity and queer identity into the conceptual sphere of that scene; interventions that rarely went down well within a context that was dominantly middle-class, heteronormative, and white. Sadly, this led to attacks upon him by prominent composers like John Cage, a factor that contributed to the long-lasting degradation of his legacy that has only just begun to be repaired. While none of the works within The N****r Series explicitly state they must be executed on piano -- being composed by Eastman "for any number of similar instruments" -- since their debut by the composer on piano in 1980, they have almost always featured the same instrumentation. The recordings featured within are the earliest known -- dating from around 1980 -- and are the only to have been realized during the composer's lifetime. Collectively, these three works -- unquestionably among the most politically and creatively radical in Eastman's entire body of work -- generate sprawling soundscapes through adamantly restated patterns and interlocking canons, not fragmenting, but preaching urgent truths. Double-LP on violet vinyl, audiophile pressing, housed in Nagaoka anti-static record sleeves.

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