AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 6/12/2004 02:24:00 PM ----- BODY:

Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven

That's the name of the savage, strange, poetic music of experimental punk rocker / electric guitar symphonist Glenn Branca, which I finally listened to today. I was introduced to it through Steve, of course, whose musical taste and collection are not for the faint of heart. Several weeks ago he played me "Movemement Within" on a CD by Bang on a Can, an avant-garde group that performs crazy modern music, and it brought to mind a post-apocalypitc landscape with bells ringing in half-ruined cathedral towers. So finally today on a lazy early afternoon we listened to Branca's sixth symphony, also called Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven. The first movement was like the ceaseless noise and percussive mania of a subway; the third the crashing of a wrecking ball; the fourth and fifth similar wasteland landscapes compelling in their modernity. But the second movement was utterly transcendent--a combination of harmonic overtones that sounded like a sick choir howling outside the gates of love. The gates of love kept by us, this strange pair of souls wandering Earth together. Last night Steve listened to me lecture about baseball and explain exactly why Pedro Martinez is more than a pitcher. Today we held each other and listened to the universe howl. I love my boyfriend.