Phill Niblock migrated to New York after completing a BA in economics at Indiana University, determined to pursue his passions: photography and film, often documenting jazz and modern dance performances. [Playlist below]
But, despite having no formal musical training, he soon found himself inspired by the New York music scene and immersed himself in experimental music, specifically loud sound, microtonal work, minimalism, and drones, producing works of often epic length. Fifty years later we can see how influential he has been in these genres with his copious output of records, videos and films and having won numerous awards along the way.
He has served as director of the Experimental Intermedia foundation for avant-garde music since 1985 and curates the record label XI. Niblock’s films includes a series called The Movement of People Working, which features workers at work in mostly rural setting worldwide.
Niblock has often collaborated with musicians, which include David First, Lee Renaldo, Thurston Moore, Susan Stenger, Al Margolis, and David Soldier as well as with me.
He just turned 90. He and I first connected in the 1970s when he attended Rhys Chatham’s presentation of my Spirit Voices in the Kitchen of the Broadway Central Hotel. He invited me to perform at his loft in Chinatown where he had just begin what has become a historic series. He came to my home sound studio on West End Avenue and West 77th Street for a session. I engineered and removed all the pauses from his solo cello work, making it a drone work. Phill's sunsets shone in our 1987 International TV Solstice. His Glittering Stream graced our Winter Solstice Celebration 2020.
Topics discussed by Morrow and Niblock: immersion, Lenny Tristan, Empress Dowager Cixi, China, rule of thirds, photography, high fidelity, history of hifi, speakers, dark room techniques, New York City water, performances, listening to records as immersion, tenement life, Mingus, Ellington, Monk, alcoholism, loops, file storage, loud sound, tech and gear, sound editing, reel to reel, archives, old trains, wire recorders ...
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