The filmmaker and musician, who worked with Faust and La Monte Young, passed away on April 9th.
Born in 1940, Conrad was an integral player in a NYC downtown milieu that pushed experimental methods in art, music and film. As part of the Theatre Of Eternal Music alongside La Monte Young, Angus MacLise, John Cale, Terry Riley and Marian Zazeela, he made what he described as "the first non-bagpipe western drone music." In the early '60s, Conrad played in a pre-Velvet Underground band called The Primitives with Cale and Lou Reed. He'd go on to collaborate with the Krautrock band Faust on the 1972 LP, Outside The Dream Syndicate, a two-track album which remains a classic of minimal music.
In recent years, Faust and Conrad performed the album live at festivals like 2015's Atonal in Berlin. Conrad was booked to play Big Ears in Knoxville, TN last week, but was forced to cancel due to health issues. Over the years, Conrad, who performed on solo amplified violin with amplified strings, collaborated with Charlemagne Palestine, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Keiji Haino and Jim O'Rourke among others.
Conrad was also a renowned experimental filmmaker. In 1966, he made The Flicker, a piece which consists of only completely black and completely white images. Several audience members became physically ill at the initial screening. For his Yellow Movies series, he created long-form films made of "square frames painted in black house paint onto large pieces of photographer's paper." His work has appeared at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, MOCA in Los Angeles and The Louvre. Conrad served as a professor at Antioch College in Ohio in the '70s and at the University Of Buffalo's Media Department from 1976 up until the time of his death.