Henry Flynt, Purified by the Fire: A Review

Henry Flynt — Purified By The Fire
Locust CD

Purified By The Fire is the latest installment of Locust Records program of previously unissued recordings by philosopher and fiddler Henry Flynt. A colleague of La Monte Young and Tony Conrad, who revolted against modern classical music, developing his own avant garde hillbilly sound, Flynt made a remarkable series of recordings from the 1960s to the 1980s when he abandoned music for lack of any audience. In the 1970s, Flynt studied with Hindustani classical vocal master Pandit Pran Nath, and in 1980-1 made a series of recordings with fellow Pran Nath student Catherine Christer Hennix supplying tambura drone tapes. These are gorgeous sprawling pieces that, aside from their debt to Pran Nath, fuse sarangi master Ram Narayan’s elegance, with classic hillbilly riffing and the ecstatic quality of early 1960s John Coltrane. That of course is no small achievement. A single 41’ 41” track, Purified By The Fire, holds up well in comparison to the more trebley, tart C Tune and the explosively psychedelic You Are My Everlovin’. The sound is warmer, more meditative perhaps – and along with its siblings, it remains utterly remarkable, 23 years after it was recorded.

Originally published in Signal to Noise.

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