The Ideology of the Drone
La Monte Young the Mystic
This chapter examines how, in the 1960s, Young made the transformation from brash enfant terrible to musical mystic. It also explores how the development of Young’s mystical persona coincided with several important musical developments, including: his creation of The Four Dreams of China, his adoption of just intonation or ratio-based tuning, his involvement in the psychedelic scene, and his study with North Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath. Particular attention is paid to The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys and the activities of The Theatre of Eternal Music, the compositions associated with this ensemble, and the contentions that arose among members of the ensemble, particularly Tony Conrad and John Cale (later famous as a member of the Velvet Underground), regarding issues of authorship and authority. This chapter also follows Young’s study of North Indian classical music beyond the years of his study with Pran Nath into the present day and examines the activities of The Just Alap Raga Ensemble and Young’s protégé, Jung Hee Choi.
Keywords: The Four Dreams of China, just intonation, psychedelia, Pandit Pran Nath, Indian music, The Theatre of Eternal Music, Tony Conrad, The Velvet Underground, Jung Hee Choi, Just Alap Raga Ensemble
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