b. 14 October 1935, Bern, Idaho, USA. A composer since the mid-50s, although primarily considered within the contemporary classical sphere, Young is well known within popular music for his work with John Cale, who appeared in his Theatre Of Eternal Music band before joining Velvet Underground. He was also acknowledged by Lou Reed on the sleeve notes to 1975’s discordant anti-classic Metal Machine Music as a major influence. Theatre Of Eternal Music also included other collaborators such as his wife Marian Zazeela, Terry Riley, jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, Andy Warhol associate Billy Linich and Jon Hassell. Though his output has been sporadic, Young’s experiments with ‘overtones’, or the range of frequencies that make up individual notes, has been acknowledged by artists as diverse as Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3, the Orb and the Future Sound Of London.
Since the early 60s he has pioneered minimalist expression in his work, composing much of his work in a New York loft to the sound of a sine-wave generator to engender a ‘drone’ mentality. Little of his work with Theatre Of Eternal Music was ever officially released owing to his well-publicized perfectionism, but he was persuaded to issue a portion of his monolithic ‘life work’, The Well-Tuned Piano, in 1987. This employed his self-customised Bosendorfer grand piano. Over five albums it expresses perfectly the linear manifesto he previously related in his ‘Composition 1960 No. 10’ - ‘Draw a straight line and follow it’. Previous releases had included two albums recorded with his wife (with contributions from Theatre Of Eternal Music). In 1992 he founded a travelling ‘rock orchestra’, the Forever Bad Blues Band, whose Just Stompin’ Live At The Kitchen is easily Young’s most accessible recording.