Glenn Branca

Who You Staring At?

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The aggressively titled Who You Staring At? is a split LP, one side each for Glenn Branca and poet John Giorno, on whose label it was issued. The side-long Branca composition was written to accompany a dance choreographed by Twyla Tharp and is performed by an ensemble essentially the same as that on his first release, The Ascension, with the addition of future Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore. The piece bolts out of the gate with rich guitar fanfares hurtling over a rampaging rhythmic base. For much of the first half of the it's as exciting as anything on that first album but midway through, perhaps in response to choreographic needs, it lurches to a halt. For the remainder of the work, Branca utilizes an awkward semi-funk rhythm with splintered guitar chords that fail to hold the listener's ear, especially after the promise of the initial section.

On his two pieces, Giorno declaims in his bitter, sardonic style over a fairly basic funk trio. His observations on the aggravating rigors of daily life (as evinced by the title to the second song) often hit home and, to make sure, Giorno has a habit of repeating them several times in the manner of a gospel preacher hammering home a point. If lines like, "I'm spendin' my whole life being with people I don't want to be with" strike home, you may warm to his attitude.

For Branca fans, this LP is worth owning for the partial pleasures of his track. Listeners interested in discovering his work might be better served by The Ascension or one of his later "symphonies."

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