New York's premier alternative band has been releasing "experimental" material on the sly on its private label, SYR, for a few years now. ... But this fourth release, a homage to a handful of highly influential experimental composers such as John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, and Pauline Oliveros, qualifies as a major Sonic Youth album. There's formless experimental music and then there's formless experimental music. This bona fide modernist rock & roll band knows the idiom so well and has been playing so well together for so long that the group's finely honed guitar textures (and familiar voices) make for a surprisingly revealing addition to the mix. These are no musical amateurs. Cage's music in particular demands a kind of haiku-like perfect placement of musical elements and the band demonstrates on no less than three tracks that it knows where to put what and when. Even Steve Reich's "Pendulum Music", a composition for a swinging, feedback-prone microphone and speakers seems somehow sweetly melodic in the loving hands of these millennial kids.
Sonic Youth: Goodbye 20th Century
Edges (Christian Wolff) Sonic Youth 16'03''
Six For The New Time (Pauline Oliveros) Sonic Youth 8'06''
Having Never Written A Note For Percussion Sonic Youth 9'09''
Six (John Cage) Sonic Youth 3'03''
+- (Takehisa Kosugi) Sonic Youth 7'01''
Voice Piece For Soprano (Yoko Ono) Sonic Youth 17''
Piece Enfantine Sonic Youth 1'28''
Four 6 Sonic Youth 30'01''
Treatise (Page 183) Sonic Youth 3'25''
Six (4th Take) Sonic Youth 2'10''
Burdocks Sonic Youth 13'12''
Piano Piece #13 (Carpenter's Piece) Sonic Youth 3'58''
Pendulum Music (Steve Reich) Sonic Youth 5'55''