Meredith Monk


Meredith Monk was one of the names in my reference book to strange sounds, New Sounds: The Virgin Guide To New Music. I read that book over and over again, and made lists of names that sounded interesting. The description of Meredith Monk's music, her vocal music, was so intriguing that I looked for anything by her. Sure enough, I quickly found Dolmen Music at Red Eye Records in Sydney (small plug for Red Eye - they usually have anything strange that I require in stock, or they can order it).

Dolmen Music was the first Monk cd I found. It is still my favourite. Most of the tracks have an ethereal quaility. It's not the same as the soundtrack cd from Twin Peaks by Julee Cruise. That has a soft, safe edge to it, although I would still describe it as ethereal. Monk's sound is strange, weird, hard-edged, ritualistic, unexpected, and still ethereal. The sound of the spheres as done by human voice. Plus, there's humour. Some tracks always make me laugh.

Since Dolmen Music, I've acquired six cds, and one lp. I don't play them as often as I should, and I should play some of the others and not just Dolmen Music all the time.

I just enjoy the music, but these articles and interviews describe it better than I can.

This discography is not complete. It's just the releases that I know about or have.

Meredith Monk Discography
1966 16 Millimeter Earrings ? ? ?
? Our Lady Of Late LP Labor ?
1971 Key LP Lovely LML 1501
1976 Quarry (an opera) ? ? ?
1979 Songs From The Hill/Tablet LP Wergo SM 10 22
1979 Recent Ruins ? ? ?
1981 Dolmen Music CD ECM New Series ECM 1197
1983 Turtle Dreams CD ECM New Series ECM 1240
1983 The Games ? ? ?
1987 Do You Be CD ECM New Series ECM 1336
1990 Book Of Days CD ECM New Series ECM 1399
1992 Facing North CD ECM New Series ECM 1482
1993 Atlas (An Opera in Three Parts) 2CD ECM New Series ECM 1491/92
1996 Monk and the Abbess - music by Meredith Monk and Hildegard of Bingen CD ? ?

Related Works
Year Item Release Title Type Record Company Catalogue Notes
? Biography Big Ego 2LP Giorno Poetry Systems GPS 012/013 Voice and piano solo by Monk. LP also contains works by Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson.
? Candy Bullets & Moon Better An Old God Than A New Demon LP Giorno Poetry Systems GPS 033 Reissue of a work recorded in 1967. Monk does voice and bass and is joined by Don Preston (faint Zappa connection) on organ and drums. It's described as a wild and spacey piece that definitely has the late 60s sound.

Here's a link to Greg Sandow's Web page. He's got a few interviews and reviews of Meredith Monk that are worth reading.