Too Late To Die Young

by Harry Taussig

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about

In his past two recordings (Fate is Only Twice and The Diamond of Lost Alphabets), Taussig has explored ways to advance the now almost half-century old “tradition” of American Primitive Guitar. Always looking to expand the sonorities associated with the steel string guitar, Taussig, in addition to original compositions, reconstructed music by Cole Porter, Pete Seeger, and even the Austrian composer Anton Karas. Using a variety of instruments and tunings, he pushed the tradition from whence he came into new territory . . . without breaking it, not an easy task.

With his latest recording, Too Late to Die Young, Taussig, now 75, has not so much taken a new direction as refined certain aspects of what he has done before. Too Late to Die Young is an in-depth exploration of a single guitar in a single tuning. “I now realize the direction in which I had been heading all along was the right one,” says Taussig, “toward independent composition within what is essentially a classical music tradition.” For instance, in addition to the traditional meters of 4/4 and ¾, Taussig now moves in and out of polyrhythms based on 5/4, 7/4 and 9/4 so smoothly as to be almost undetectable. However, the major leap he has made out of Post-Modernism is central to his new recording. “Whenever I heard a record reviewed, it was always in terms of the recent past, ‘a taste of soul with an AC/DC attitude and a little Dub in the background’ is typical.” This is appropriate for the Post-Modern Era, Taussig points out, where the attitude is that “all that can be invented, has been” and reworking the past is the only way forward. Sampling is perhaps the best representation of this approach. “I want to go further,” says Taussig, “I believe that Post-Modernism, now almost fifty years old, is due for a reevaluation. Invention is again possible without obvious references to the past.” “When people listen to my new music, I don’t want them to think of the roots of American Primitive Guitar or other musician/composers, I want them to think, ‘that is Taussig.’”

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released April 26, 2016

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Tompkins Square San Francisco, California

Tompkins Square label, established in 2005, has released acclaimed recordings by artists such as William Tyler, Ryley Walker and Michael Chapman as well as reissues of folk, old-timey, gospel and American Primitive Guitar. The label has received 7 Grammy nominations. ... more

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