Glenn Branca, avant-garde composer and guitarist, dies aged 69

Iconic and pioneering avant-garde composer and guitarist Glenn Branca has died aged 69.

His wife and regular music collaborator Reg Bloor confirmed that Branca had lost his battle with throat cancer and had passed away in his sleep.

“I feel grateful to have been able to live and work with such an amazing source of ideas and creativity for the past 18 1/2 years. His musical output was a fraction of the ideas he had in a given day. His influence on the music world is incalculable,” Bloor wrote on social media.

“Despite his gruff exterior, he was a deeply caring and fiercely loyal man. We lived in our own little world together. I love him so much. I’m absolutely devastated. He lived a very full life and had no regrets.”

Blanca became a spearhead of the New York No Wave scene and, his 1982 album The Ascension will go down as a pioneering force with its experimental guitar emphasis. Even David Bowie, who placed The Ascension among his favourite ever records, who described the album as, “What at first sounds like dissonance is soon assimilated as a play on the possibilities of overtones from massed guitars… Branca uses the overtones produced by the vibrations of a guitar string. Amplified and reproduced by many guitars simultaneously, you have an effect akin to the drone of Tibetan Buddhist monks but much, much, much louder.”

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