Harry Partch – And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma (1966 / 2017)
Note: This is a revised and expanded version of a text, originally published by SoundOhm.
The history of American avant-garde music is a snarled knot, twisting through the decades, spanning genre, practice, and approach. Most narratives place its origins within the post-war period, orbiting around John Cage, Morton Feldman, and those artists springing from the movements of Fluxus and free-jazz. American creative innovation issued unquestionable influence over the later half of 20th century, but the root of its radicalism was earlier, with its origins often misplaced – sometimes accidentally, but most often at the hand of intervention and manipulation (usually in the service of critical and academic agenda). While Europe played a part, the American musical avant-garde began as a distinctly indigenous form, the seeds planted by a handful of visionary and singular minds working in the shadows, laying the groundwork for what was to come. Of these, the composer Harry Partch is arguably the most notable – an unavoidable paradox, given that he has never received much note. One of the most important and singular voices of his century, he the focus of New World Recording latest LP, a lavishly expanded reissue of his seminal 1966 release, And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma.