Violinist and theoretician Tony Conrad was one of the leading lights of the minimalist school revolving around LaMonte Young in the early '60s, but had not released a studio album for 23 years prior to Slapping Pythagoras, the odd title apparently deriving from the multitude of issues Conrad has with the Pythagorean method, detailed in painstaking fashion in his liner notes. True to his career-long approach, the two lengthy pieces herein are centered on the drone and the sonic richness to be found there. His microtonal approach will be perceived as abrasive (even aggressively so) by many listeners, but those who allow themselves to succumb will discover a fascinating, multi-layered sound world in which can be heard many of the ideas underlying the work of bands from the Velvet Underground to Sonic Youth. Indeed, occasional Sonic Youth producer/collaborator Jim O'Rourke is on hand for this session, as is a roster made up of the cream of the late-'90s Chicago experimental music scene. This is deep minimalism with a sharp and acidic bite, and will provide many rewards for the intrepid listener.
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick