Loren Connors & Alan Licht – The Blue Hour

Pre-order: Estimated arrival June 28, 2024

Totally beautiful and rare piano performance from Loren Connors, joined on guitar by long time collaborator Alan Licht. 

Celebrating thirty years of collaboration, Loren Connors and Alan Licht performed for two nights at OTO on May 5 and 6th, 2023. On the second night, with the stage lit in blue, Connors took up a seat on the piano stool whilst Licht picked up the guitar. What followed was the duo’s first ever set with Connors on piano - one of only a few times Connors has played piano live at all - here captured and issued as The Blue Hour. Its spacious warmth came as a total surprise live, but makes complete sense for a duo whose dedicated expressionism takes inspiration from a vast spectrum of emotion.

Both opening with single notes to start, it doesn't take long before a surface rises and begins to shimmer. A run up the keys, the drop of a feedback layer on a sustained and bent note. The two begin to exchange notes in tandem and brief touches of melody and chord hover. After a while, Connors picks up the guitar, stands it in his lap and sweeps a wash of colour across Licht’s guitar. Sharp, glassy edges begin to form, open strings and barred frets darkening the space. When his two pedals begin to merge, Licht finds a dramatic organ-like feedback and it’s hard not to imagine Rothko’s Chapel, its varying shades of blue black ascending and descending in the room.

When Connors goes back to the piano for the second side, the pair quickly lock into a refrain and light pours in. It’s a kind of sound that Licht says reminds him of what he and Connors would do when the duo first started playing together 30 years ago. It’s certainly more melodic than some of their more recent shows, and the atonal shards of At The Top of the Stairs seem to totally dissolve. What is always remarkable about Licht is that his enormous frame of reference doesn't seem to weigh him down, and instead here he is able to delicately place fractures of a Jackson C Frank song (“Just Like Anything”,) amongst the vast sea of Connors’ blues.

Perhaps it's the pleasure of playing two nights in a row together, or the nature of Connor’s piano playing combined with Licht’s careful listening, but the improvisation on The Blue Hour feels remarkably calm and unafraid. There’s nothing to prove and no agenda except the joy of sounding colour together. Totally beautiful. 


Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Saturday 6th May 2023 by Billy Steiger
Mixed by Oli Barrett
Mastered by Sean McCann
Artwork by Loren Connors
Layout by Oli Barrett
Screenprint by Tartaruga

Manufactured in the UK by Vinyl Press. 

Edition of 300 standard LPs, 100 LPs with screenprinted artwork by Loren Connors printed as inserts. Also available on a limted run of 200 CDs. 

Available as a 320kbps MP3 or 24bit FLAC or WAV.

Download will become available on release day.

Edition of 300 standard LPs, 100 LPs with screenprinted artwork inserts and 200 CDs

Loren Connors

Loren Connors has improvised and composed original guitar music for over four decades. His music – which embraces the aesthetics of blues, Irish airs, blues-based rock and other genres while letting go of rigid forms – has been recorded on Family Vineyard, Northern Spy, Drag City, Recital, and other labels. Connors names abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko his most important influence, and has honed his aesthetic not only through music but also through experimentations in haiku and visual art. He has performed with Kim Gordon, Daniel Carter, Keiji Haino, John Fahey, Alan Licht, Tom Carter, Jandek, and others. Connors also has performed with an avant blues band called Haunted House, together with vocalist Suzanne Langille, guitarist Andrew Burnes and percussionist Neel Murgai. Masters of Cinema released the Carl Dreyer film, The Passion of Joan of Arc, featuring a soundtrack composed and performed by Loren Connors. In recent years, Connors has focused mostly on live recordings of extended blues abstractions, with occasional performances in a more avant blues rock vein from time to time through the Haunted House band and collaborations with other artists.

Alan Licht

Over the past two decades, guitarist Alan Licht has worked with a veritable who’s who of the experimental world, from Rashied Ali and Derek Bailey to Fennesz to Christian Marclay to Rhys Chatham and Phill Niblock. Licht is also renown in the indie rock scene as a bandleader (Run On, Love Child) and supporting player to cult legends like Yoko Ono, Tom Verlaine, Arthur Lee, Arto Lindsay, and Jandek. With Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, he founded Text of Light, an ongoing ensemble which performs freely improvised concerts alongside screenings of classic avantgarde cinema.

Licht was curator at the famed New York experimental music venue Tonic from 2000 until its closing in 2007, and has written extensively about the arts for the WIRE, Modern Painters, Premiere, Village Voice, New York Sun, and other publications. His books include Common Tones: Selected interviews with artists and musicians 1995-2020 (Blank Forms, 2021), Sound Art Revisited (Bloomsbury, 2019), and Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy (Faber & Faber/W.W. Norton, 2012).