A pioneer in vocal composition, as well as dance and theater, Monk has steadfastly maintained a very unique aesthetic over her forty plus year career. Her music has been featured in the Coen Brothers, Big Lebowski, Jean-Luc Godard’s Nouvelle Vague and Notre Musique, and she was one of the features in Peter Greenaway’s Four American Composers, alongside Robert Ashley, John Cage and Philip Glass, and has crept into the work of both Bjork and Dj Shadow, amongst others.
Used to great effect by DJ Shadow on my favorite cut of his
Despite my familiarity with her work, I’ve owned both Key and Dolmen music for over twenty years, it totally escaped me that it was Monk’s music playing as a harnessed Maude Lebowski flew over her canvas.
I highly recommend searching out this hour long documentary on the Father of Modern American Guitar, John Fahey. Fahey tirelessly trudged the country’s back roads, compiling a vast collection of forgotten musical history, which he in turn, reinterpreted through a panoply of international influences, creating a truly distinct body of work. In conjunction with the record label, Takoma, that he started, he helped establish solo guitar as a respected art form and laid the groundwork for all such experimentation that followed. His playing is simultaneously beautifully expressive and unpredictable. To listen to a Fahey record is to go on a journey. Do yourself a favor and take the trip.
This is a sixteen minute clip, from 1976, that really encompasses the scope and breadth of Fahey’s ability.
Listen to what he does with a Blues cut. Actually, I consider all Fahey’s work to be Blues, regardless.
And in lucky me news, I was psyched to grab an original of this LP, for less than a buck, at an estate sale a month ago!