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Glenn Branca, RIP

Glenn Branca
Glenn Branca at 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon (more by Andrew Frisicano)

Legendary avant-garde guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has passed away, after a battle with throat cancer. He was 69. As Billboard points out, his wife and collaborator Reg Bloor broke the news on Facebook:

Glenn Branca passed away in his sleep last night from Throat Cancer.

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.

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. Thank you to all the fans and all of the musicians whose support made that possible.

As per his wishes, there will not be a formal memorial service.

My upcoming schedule will proceed as planned.

Glenn played in the no wave group Theoretical Girls and also released music and led guitar ensembles under his own name, including ensembles which counted Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, and Swans’ Michael Gira as members before their own bands took off. Glenn’s music was highly influential on Sonic Youth and Swans (and, as a result, several other bands over the years), and he also released some of Sonic Youth’s early music on his own Neutral Records. Glenn continued to perform through recent years, including a premiere of a new work at The Kitchen in 2016.

Rest in peace, Glenn. You’ll be missed and your contributions to music will live on.

Listen to Glenn’s classic 1981 album The Ascenscion (which features Lee Ranaldo on guitar):

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