The Jakarta Post
New York avant garde composer Glenn Branca died on May 13 after battling throat cancer. (Billboard/Frans Schellekens/Redferns)
New York's avant garde composer Glenn Branca, who influenced artists such as David Bowie and alternative bands Sonic Youth, has died at the age of 69.
Branca's wife and frequent musical collaborator Reg Bloor announced his passing on Facebook on Tuesday.
"Branca passed away in his sleep last night [May 13] from throat cancer,” Bloor said in the statement.
“I feel grateful to have been able to live and work with such an amazing source of ideas and creativity for the past 18 1/2 years. His musical output was a fraction of the ideas he had in a given day. His influence on the music world is incalculable,” Bloor said.
Branca was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1948 and moved to New York City in 1976 to join the nascent punk scene in the city. Disappointed with the commercialization of punk, he decided to do experimental rock music with his no wave band Theoretical Girls. He then released his first solo piece, Lesson No. 1, in 1980.
One year later, he issued his debut album, The Ascension which features guitar from Lee Ranaldo, who went on to form noise band Sonic Youth. Branca later released Sonic Youth’s first two albums Sonic Youth and Confusion Is Sex on his Netural Records label.
In a Vanity Fair interview in 2003, David Bowie counted Branca as one of his influence, saying that music in The Ascension in "mysterious in religious sense."
"Amplified and reproduced by many guitars simultaneously, you have an effect akin to the drone of Tibetan Buddhist monks but much, much, much louder," Bowie said.