Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain is the quintessential work of artist/filmmaker/composer Tony Conrad. Comprised of both film installation and minimalist score for amplified strings, Ten Years leaps across genre and medium to connect his revolutionary structural filmmaking with the experiments in long-duration sound that Conrad had begun in the 1960s as part of the Theatre of Eternal Music.
“Ten Years began with image before sound,” writes Andrew Lampert, “a row of quadruple projections arranged side-by-side, all the shuffling stripes cascading into each other. Over the next two hours the music throbbed and the projectors incrementally shifted inwards, their beams gradually uniting to form one pulsating, overlapping picture.”
For its 1972 premiere at New York’s The Kitchen, Ten Years included Conrad on violin as well as Rhys Chatham and Laurie Spiegel performing on instruments of the composer’s own making. Chatham played the Long String Drone – a 6-foot long strip of wood with bass strings, electric pickup, tuning keys, tape, rubber band and metal hardware – while Spiegel carried out an arrhythmic bass pulse throughout.
Superior Viaduct is honored to present this previously unreleased recording of Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain’s breathtaking premier performance. As Chatham recounts in the liner notes, “When I first listened to this recording after not hearing it for over 40 years, it transported me back to the early Kitchen and the heyday of early minimalism, played outside the Dream Syndicate.”