Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend – who has been referred to on this site at various times as DJ Malomar – and I asked him if he knew about Conlon Nancarrow, who is best known for his compositions for player piano. I brought up Nancarrow because Malomar, who hadn’t heard about this under-looked composer, is really down with avant-garde classical, especially electronic music – cats like Morton Subotnik. While Nancarrow didn’t write electronic music per se, I’d argue that his work is a precursor of electronic music, in that he wrote music for a machine, a machine with capabilities far above and beyond the capabilities of any human pianist, including Art Tatum.
So I suggested to Malomar that he should check out Nancarrow, and now I am making the same suggestion to you good people. If you haven’t heard of Nancarrow, not only did he have an interesting life, (just google him, because my memory of the whens and wheres are fuzzy), but because his music is about as unique, compelling, and challenging as it gets. Get ready to have your head blown.