Musicians pay tribute to avant-garde hero Glenn Branca

The influential guitarist and composer has died age 69

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Musicians have been paying tribute to influential no wave guitarist and avant-garde composer Glenn Branca, who died this week of throat cancer aged 69.

After founding key no wave group Theoretical Girls in 1976, Branca forged a singular career writing and performing cacophonous, minimalist guitar symphonies and other rigorous, uncompromising works.

He played a crucial role in the formation of Sonic Youth, introducing Thurston Moore to Lee Ranaldo and putting out their first two albums on his own label. David Bowie named Branca’s 1981 album The Ascension as one of his favourite records of all-time.


Writing on Instagram, Ranaldo said: “The beginning of my time in New York, 1979-1980, would have been nothing without the genius work that Glenn Branca was doing at that time. The most radical, intelligent response to punk and the avant garde I’d ever seen.”

Actor and Lounge Lizards leader John Lurie added that seeing Theoretical Girls in 1979 “changed my life”.

Thurston Moore tweeted simply: “The Ascension”


The June 2018 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with the Rolling Stones on the cover. Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll find exclusive new interviews with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Françoise Hardy, Eric Burdon, James Taylor, Public Enemy, Eleanor Friedberger and many more. Our free CD showcases 15 tracks of this month’s best new music, including Courtney Barnett, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Ryley Walker, Beach House, Wand, Simone Felice, Dylan Carson and The Sea And Cake.


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