Loren Connors

Loren Connors has improvised and composed original guitar music for over four decades.  His music – which embraces the aesthetics of blues, Irish airs, blues-based rock and other genres while letting go of rigid forms – has been recorded on Family Vineyard, Northern Spy, Drag City, Table of the Elements, Recital, RoadCone and other labels.

Connors, who names abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko his most important influence, has performed with Thurston Moore, Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke, John Fahey, Alan Licht, Jandek, and Kim Gordon.  Suzanne Langille has often appeared on Connors' recordings as vocalist, lyricist and arranger.  Connors also on occasion performs with an avant blues band called Haunted House, together with Langille, guitarist Andrew Burnes and percussionist Neel Murgai.

In July 1979, Cadence Magazine noted that Connors, who had recently emerged in the scene, was “similar to others in the Advanced Guard of improvising guitarists in that he is trying to extend the boundaries of sound and pitch of acoustic guitar, but he is unique in the utilization of Blues in his work, one could almost say this is Avant Garde Blues. He’s swimming in new waters and beginning to make his own environment.”

In recent years, Connors has focused mostly on live recordings of extended blues abstractions, with occasional performances in a more avant blues rock vein from time to time through the Haunted House band and collaborations with other artists.

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Loren Connors News:

  • Loren Connors' Silent Night

    December 22, 2016

    This is a classic of the season. Recorded at home in 1995, Loren Connors performs "Silent Night" on electric guitar as his then-young son sings along...

    Also: Family Vineyard HQ will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2. All orders for physical items placed on Dec. 24 or later will be processed in the new year.

  • Loren Connors' 'Departing' Series Hits Six

    October 10, 2016

    It's another chapter in Loren Connors' ongoing The Departing of a Dream vision. Just months after reviving it from a ten-year hiatus with the release of Volume V -- Loren Connors issues Volume VI, another movement of saturated guitar tones, dissonance and impermanence.

    "Gone are the slow-moving bass lines and the identifiable pedal-craft of the first go-around. What’s left is the sound of Connors alone in a room full of people, drawing out gradually fading tones and percussive echoes. Each note does the work of a Webernian orchestral passage, each interval is a look into the grave, and the distant chatter of the crowd on this live recording seems impossibly far away" -- Bill Meyer, Still Single

    The 10-inch record in out Oct. 14 in an edition of 550 copies with cover art by Connors.

  • Carter And Connors Together At Last

    June 30, 2016

    The debut, untitled LP of guitar masters Tom Carter and Loren Connors will be released August 5, 2016. It's limited to only 528 copies. Bradley Buehring's gorgeous black and white photos of the long hairs in action adorn the glossy LP jacket and inner sleeve.

     

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    Loren Connors In The Wire

    June 14, 2016

    Some say "it's 'bout damn time..." but we just smile.

    Loren Connors graces the cover of The Wire for a fantastic, indepth feature by Kurt Gottschalk that is teased as: "The pioneering free blues guitarist has more than six strongs to his bow, as demonstrated by his debut release as a pianist." Suzanne Langille makes a co-staring role as Gottschalk examines Loren's recent bout of Family Vineyard releases. 

    That debut release is, of course, The Red Painting 7-inch (just a few more copies of it left...).

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    Light Is Finally Shining

    March 28, 2016

    Finally -- Loren Connors & Clint Heidorn's debut Light is out this week. It's quite a package to match the music: a one-sided, clear vinyl 12” packaged with two pieces of Connors’ art -- a detail of a recontextualized Matisse painting. One piece is transparent plastic, the other paper. Together, the opaque block of 11-inch x 11-inch sheets are intended to be hung in your window so the light can illuminate the hidden colors.

    As for the music -- it sounds just like that. 

    Only 300 copies of this record were made and only a few remain today. 

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    New Single From Loren And Suzanne

    January 11, 2016

    It's been awhile since Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille released anything as a duo -- sure, there was the Haunted House band album from a few years ago, but, that's a totally different dynamic. Now, thankfully, the Belgium label Tanuki just issued the "Strong & Foolish Heart" b/w "Blue Ghost Blues" 7-inch single. It was recorded live at the 2013 Counterflows Festival in Glasgow, Scotland and sounds fantastic. Loren's contemporary abstraction style gives a different feel to these familiar songs as Suzanne's always powerful, soulful bellow anchors each. But we've never heard a version of "Blue Ghost Blues" (aka Lonnie Johnson's "Haunted House" from 1960) like this. Loren's hair-raising replication of fluttering bat wings, as heard first on In Pittsburgh (1989), is transformed here into a slab of scree and feedback. Just 250 copies with three cover variations -- get at it.

  • New Loren Connors Live Album Showcases 2 Nights In NYC

    September 14, 2015

    Loren Connors' Live In New York CD is out on Friday, Sept. 18 worldwide. 

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    Loren Connors Plays To Rothko At Whitney

    August 24, 2015

    Loren Connors will perform in front of Rothko's "Four Darks in Red" at the Whitney Museum of American Art on August 29th: 

    Loren Connors, composer and musician, will address Four Darks in Red, 1958 by Mark Rothko (1903–1970). Named in honor of the Whitney’s new address, 99 Gansevoort Street, 99 Objects is a series of in-gallery programs focusing on individual works of art from the Museum’s collection on view in America Is Hard to See. Speakers include artists, writers, Whitney curators and educators, and an interdisciplinary group of scholars. Programs take place daily.

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    Loren Connors' "Dark Paintings" sees the light again

    May 14, 2015

    We are so pleased to finally release Blues: The Dark Paintings of Mark Rothko -- Loren Connors' masterpiece of six-string ambience and lyricism. It's been 25 years since the LP first came out, and really, back then hardly anyone heard it. Today, pretty much anyone can now grab ahold -- or at least hear via quality bitrates -- this album. A lot has been writen about this album so far, but we'd like to share one insight from Grayson Haver Currin:

    These seven instrumentals represent Connors' responses to a posthumous exhibition of the "Dark Paintings" of Mark Rothko, a major ideological and technical influence he's long acknowledged. Rothko finished these works just before committing suicide in 1970. Connors' responses, then, seem like an attempt to live among those same bleak grays and blacks but to not languish in them—that is, to survive by singing about the sadness, not drowning in it. The anguish so apparent in the hand-wringing chords of "No. 1" sublimate into a kind of contemplative beauty by the end of "No. 7".

    The LP is available now. Order here

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    Loren in Portland

    April 11, 2015

    Snap from Loren Connors performing in Portland, OR last night at Yale Union. Photo from Evan P. Cordes. This was Loren's first performance in the Northwest since 1998.

     

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    Haunted House returns

    January 25, 2015

    Wish we could have made it: return of Haunted House (Loren Connors, Suzanne Langille, Andrew Burnes and Neel Murgai) last night in lower Manhattan at Sugarcube as part of Northern Spy's five-year anniversary celebration. Those lucky to attend reported "Frankie and Johnny" and "Blue Ghost Blues" were, as expected, monstrous live. Photo by Erstwhile Records' Jon Abbey.

  • Loren Connors & Keiji Haino go transatlantic for "Joan of Arc"

    November 17, 2014

    This morning Loren Connors performed with Keiji Haino in a rare transatlantic event. Keiji was at Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan. Loren was at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn at 5:30 a.m. Together they created an improvised soundtrack to Carl Theodor Dreyer's1928 silent classic "The Passion of Joan of Arc" that was being shown to the audience at Shibuya. Thanks to our friends at Northern Spy for posting brief, wondrous taste... 

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    Light LP delayed again

    October 13, 2014

    As we wrote last month, Light, the stunning debut of the Loren Connors & Clint Heidorn duo, was delayed due to defects found in copies of the one-sided clear 12". New stampers were made and the record was repressed, so we expected Light would be ready for release still this year. Well, the second pressing arrived and the vinyl is again corrupted with clicks and skips created during the manufacturing process. When will Light finally shine through and get in the hands of all those who pre-ordered? We're not sure, but we guarantee the record will be pressed flawlessly and worth the wait.

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    Light LP delayed

    September 16, 2014

    Light is here... and then it wasn't. After many delays with the fabulous Loren Connors and Clint Heidorn debut collaboration, the crystal-clear, one-sided LPs finally arrived. We were ecstatic. Then we played a copy and the record skipped. So we played another -- and then the needle jumped out of the groove. And on and on... each copy of the LP had some type of defect in the first few rotations. The record is being repressed -- which is great, of course -- but it will be another delay before Light is finally complete. The release date has been adjusted to Dec. 2.

    Above is a photo of how the finished record will look. The artwork is two pieces of Connors’ art -- a detail of a recontextualized Matisse painting. One piece is transparent plastic, the other paper. Together, the opaque block of 11-inch x 11-inch sheets are intended to be hung in your window so the light can illuminate the hidden colors. A full-color postcard of Connors' full piece is also included.

    It will be worth the wait... 

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    Loren Connors & Keiji Haino in Japan

    August 22, 2014

    On November 11th Loren Connors and Keiji Haino will perform a live, improvised soundtrack to The Passion of Joan of Arc -- Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 masterpiece. The event is at Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan. But Loren won't be traveling to Japan. Instead he will perform in New York City via a slightly delayed Internet hook-up with Keiji in Tokyo. 

    According to the Google translation of the Japanese concert announcement: "This time, do not dare to be invited Connors be dangerous to the long-distance movement suffers from Parkinson's disease, experimental performance center of local Brooklyn Issue Project Room in, you get to play in the movie is screened. Then send out sound and video using the Internet, avant-garde blues guitarist true of another person, Keiji Haino will Mukaeuchi the sound of Connors and movie in Tokyo.

    "It will be a slight delay will occur in the synchronization of the Brooklyn / Tokyo between, but including the delay time difference and two people would be "playing". In order to accurately as possible and synchronization!? Whether there for anything such as the Internet if you did not used to this, you will digital screening rather than a film, but at 20 frames / sec worth is said to screening rate of silent film era in screenings, I pull the video representation of the original. Japanese / English subtitles."

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    Light is coming

    August 14, 2014

    The darkness is nearly passed... Light, the long-delayed debut collaboration of guitarists Loren Connors and Clint Heidorn, is almost ready to shine...

  • Charlie Chaplin meets Loren Connors

    July 10, 2014

    If you have not seen Loren Connors' adaption of "City Lights," it's about time to change that. "The sole purpose of this use of the images is to illustrate the timelessness of the more serious scenes of the film in the context of modern music and to indicate how the film would "feel" with the "slapstick" elements (roughly three-fourths of the film eliminated, which transforms the material and uses it for a different purpose than the original intent and comedic value)." - LC

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    Loren Connors' My Brooklyn

    March 20, 2014

    City scapes were a hallmark of Loren Connors early 1990s work -- his guitar offten telling the stories of New York City past and present. My Brooklyn is a return, of sorts, in vein. Released by the  Japanese label Analogpath, the 500-edition CD collects two live performances: The Stone (1/7/12) and Zebulon (2/26/12). It is available here

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    Loren Connors "Christmas Day" 7-inch

    November 23, 2013

    From our friends at Flannelgraph Records, who have been releasing the benefit album The Holidays Don't Have to be so Rotten for the past four years. The 4th volume is out now -- and so is this:

    It is our honor to be releasing a limited edition of 7" records featuring the song that Loren Connors contributed to last year's instrumental holiday benefit compilation.

    • ** original cover artwork by Loren himself
    • ** limited to 500 hand-numbered copies
    • ** B-side features the raw transfer of "Christmas Day," original recorded on VHS cassette tape
    • ** all profits will again go to charity, this year's being Amethyst House, an addiction recovery center in Bloomington, Indiana
    •  ** Order at Flannelgraph Records
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    Loren Connors and Tom Carter Duo

    October 21, 2013

    A fine duo, if there ever was one: Loren Connors and Tom Carter at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, Oct. 20, 2013. Photo lifted from thepalaceat4am.

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    Loren Connors in The Out Door

    June 20, 2013

    The ultimate Loren Connors overview has been written and compiled by the fine gents at The Out Door column over at Pitchfork. It is epic, beautiful and covers Loren's four decades as an artist and musician. It's got it all, from a summary of his many albums -- including many on FV -- and interviews with Suzanne Langille, Darin Gray, Alan Licht, Jim O'Rourke, some guy named Jandek and few others. Please, spend some time with this one. 

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    Connors on slowness, reissue now available

    April 29, 2013

    Mr. Loren Connors: "Well… NY Times critic Ben Ratliff says I play notes so slowly it makes you wonder if I’m losing my way. I think this comment was said as a joke, or with a light heart. But I like to think about slowness. The same kind of thing was said about Billie Holliday, Lester Young, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and on and on. The truth here lies in the fact that a person ages internally. The fast-paced, technically strong youthfulness gives way to a deeper concern. Look at Beethoven’s last quartets, op. 131 and others. Look at Chopin’s last nocturnes. And other great composers. They all offer us their slower, deeper sound in their final days. Like Ebenezer’s spirits, the spirit of Music past and Music present and even Music future is gonna haunt you. It sure will. And when you do get older, if it’s truth you’re after, you play like the man or woman that you’ve grown to become and you leave all the youthful techniques behind. At 63, I play like the man I’ve become, not the boy I once was."

    Also, after some delay, we're proud to release a remastered, LP version of Loren's classic The Departing of a Dream. This is a gorgeous reissue of the 2002 CD, now with corrected cover photography and enhanced audio. There are only 700 copies, so it won't be around for long.

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    Rothko & Connors

    March 6, 2013

    Loren Connors during sound check at Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, June 1, 2007. Photo by Yuko Zama.

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    Finally, A Fire

    January 13, 2013

    After many delays, the Loren Connors'  A Fire one-sided LP is completed! This 350-edition, 180-gram record captures Loren at a performance in Philadelphia in 2010. Features jacket cover and insert of Connors' cut/paste remodeling of photos -- both are handscreened by Alan Sherry at Siwa. Many copies have been pre-ordered and already spoken for. We only have about 100 left as of today -- so act quick.

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    Loren Connors' Silent Night

    December 24, 2012

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    New Loren & Suzanne duo

    November 30, 2012

    Our pals over at Northern Spy in Brooklyn have released Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille's I Wish I Didn't Dream -- their first proper duo album in 14 years. It's 14 new studio tracks inspired by the Brooklyn outsider, impressionistic artist M P Landis. The package comes in a lovely digipak with a 20 page tip-in art book featuring all 14 M P Landis paintings along with lyrics by Suzanne. All tracks were improvised live during a four hour session -- a rare feat as most Loren's albums are cut on stage or at home.