JULIUS EASTMAN - STAY ON IT

JULIUS EASTMAN - STAY ON IT

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Released: 14/04/23

Stay On It (1973), an early augury of postminimalism and one of the first art music compositions inspired by progressions from popular music, presaging the later innovations of Arthur Russell and Rhys Chatham.

‘The groundbreaking composer America almost forgot’ The Guardian

‘The composer, whose brazen and brilliant music was all but forgotten at century’s end, is finally getting his due.’ The New Yorker

In 1973, Stay On It turned the coordinates of avant-garde music on its head. It is minimal, but un- ashamedly groovy; it is open to improvisation, grants performers all the freedom they could need, but it isn’t jazz and never slips into the non-committal. It is open to theatrical and performative elements, but also to poetic-lyrical ones.


Cut to 1981. Eastman releases The Holy Presence of Joan d‘Arc. Where has the lightness gone? The relationship to pop music? The love for the musicians who have to develop the piece during its performance?

It sounds like heavy metal: forceful, dark, urgent, sawing—and then plaintive, heartbreaking.