Your Own Self

Garrett List’s 1972 release ‘Your Own Self’ comes at a time of new age composition and it’s rise throughout the 1970s; setting the pace as a minimalist transcendental changing piece, whilst following the experimental phases of music throughout the 1960s.

List’s compositions feature influences by some of the greats in the field including; John Cage, Tony Conrad and La Monte Young (of the FLUXUS movement). Whilst being a part of the Theatre of Eternal Music / The Dream Syndicate, List had played Trombone alongside above names and personal favourite – Jon Hassall; all drawing from the FLUXUS style of creating drones and taking composition influences from John Cage’s noise work.

It’s beauty comes from the subtle swells of horns that gradually moves in and out of intensity, both imitating the vocal patterns and vibraphone notes – creating the movement in the piece. One real sure thing is the bass line, it’s presence is felt as it moves between just a few notes. The poetry is refreshingly positive, speaking of spirituality helping you to reflect internally, these are supported by harmonies of chanting that all build up to a certain point that then brings in an immediate 16th note hi hat pattern that opens and closes as each section builds. We then hear introductions of piano trills and more wailing from the saxophone. The intensity of the music builds and it slides into a wonderfully chaotic free jazz improvisation that reaches a conclusion to the sound of the piano hitting a subtle chord repeatedly alongside the vocals panning across with simple one notes from the bass.

For me personally, I feel there is some influence of style that can be compared with Paddy McAloon’s I Trawl The Megahertz, it is interesting to compare the two in both the instrumentation and poetry used, alongside the building of certain musical elements and the changes.

Originally released on Opus One, this has now been re-issued on Italian label – Black Sweat Records.

It’s composition imitates life, it’s moments intertwined with beauty and chaos – Your Own Self.

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