About this Piece
Family trees are important to the story of Minimalism. Young’s influence on the No Wave scene is not just theoretical. The line of descent - from La Monte Young to Rhys Chatham to Glenn Branca to Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore - is audible. That Sonic Youth made it their thing to experiment with tuning and drone textures is down to their springing from this Minimalist-experimentalist tradition. Free City Rhymes came on Sonic Youth’s most experimental album to date, NYC Ghosts & Flowers (2000). Partly this was necessity. Their specially doctored instruments had been stolen in 1999. It forced them to start from scratch. The results are more noisy and unruly than ever, something not everyone appreciated. Perry Serpa, their publicist at the time, was not happy with the unconventional results. “They really crawled up their own ass,” he said of the album.