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Charles Curtis-

Ultra White Violet Light Double LP/Double CD

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis"Ultra White Violet Light"
Charles Curtis Trio "Sleep"
Double 12" LP/Double CD (Squealer 029)1999/2000

The four sides of this double 12" (or the four tracks on the double CD) can be freely combined with one another on multiple stereo sets. Any combination of two, three or all four sides at once can be heard. Each side by itself is also a complete composition.

Side A: Cellos, sine tones, sustained electric guitars
Side B: Electric guitar and bass, drumkit, sine tones, speech
Side C: Sine tones, sustained electric guitars
Side D: Cellos, sine tones, sustained electric guitars, speech

The Charles Curtis Trio are: Henry Grant, drums, Peter Imig, bass, and Charles Curtis, guitar and vocals. Charles Curtis also played cello

Produced by Matthias Arfmann

Photographs by Bernhard Oe

Squealer is very proud to join in this reissue with the German label Beau Rivage. Beau Rivage issued the original edition of the album in a very limited pressing of 512 copies in 1998. This second pressing of the LP, which came out in 1999, is in an edition of 652, with only 400 LP copies available in the US. The Compact Disc is in an initial edition of 1000.

"Some aspire to greatness, others have it thrust upon them. Then there are the few, like Charles Curtis, who were just born that way. Born in California in 1960, Curtis is known internationally as a classical 'cellist of the first water. He has performed and recorded with an amazingly diverse range of artists, from Kathleen Battle to Herbie Hancock to Speculum Musicae. Since 1989 he has been the principal cellist of the North German Radio Orchestra. From 1986 Curtis has been closely associated with La Monte Young, who considers Curtis his protege, and has spoken of him as 'the foremost interpreter of my music in the world'. He is also one of the few musicians ever to have shared the stage as a duo with Young. Besides this complex history of study and performance with The Father of Minimalism, Curtis has also maintained a strong presence in New York's avant-garde and underground rock scenes, working frequently as a guitarist with such figures as Kramer and Alan Licht, and holding regular positions in The Donald Miller Trio and King Missile. Since the early '90s, he has also lead his own rock group in Europe, the Charles Curtis Trio. His compositions for this classic power formation integrate sustained sine waves and spoken prose pieces, reminding one of a simultaneous playing of The Velvet Underground's 3rd album and John Cage's "Indeterminacy". And simultaneous playing is one of the features of "Ultra White Violet Light"/"Sleep". The LP release presents four pieces on two records. Three reflect Curtis' work with La Monte Young, bathing the listener with a wash of sine tones, multi-tracked 'cellos and sustained guitars; a fourth features his Trio; two feature his readings in one of the most affable monotones ever recorded; and all may be enjoyed as individual compositions, but may also be combined on more than one stereo sets, up to all four at once. You may have to invite several DJ friends over for a party, but it is worth it. The resulting release represents a complete project unique in either Minimalism or rock, both sumptuous and eccentric. In its original limited edition, it recently made The Wire's Top Ten Office Playlist. On a tragic note, photographer Bernhard Oe, whose pictures grace the covers of all of Curtis' recordings, was killed in a traffic accident at the end of April just after finalizing choices for this issue of "Ultra White Violet Light"/"Sleep". He shared a great sympathy of aesthetic with Curtis, and his talent will be sorely missed." -Donald Miller

The Double CD and the Double LP are both out of print.

Digital files are available at eMusic.