Henry Kaiser (musician)
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Henry Kaiser with Timberdance Swamp Angel Guitar
September 19, 1952 |
Oakland, California, United States
|Origin||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Genres||Free improvisation, jazz, rock|
Henry Kaiser (born September 19, 1952) is an American guitarist and composer, known as an idiosyncratic soloist, a sideman, an ethnomusicologist, and a film score composer. Recording and performing prolifically in many styles of music, Kaiser is a fixture on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene. He is considered a member of the "first generation" of American free improvisers.
In 1977, Kaiser founded Metalanguage Records with Larry Ochs (Rova Saxophone Quartet) and Greg Goodman. In 1979 he recorded With Friends Like These with Fred Frith, a collaboration that lasted for over 20 years. In 1983 they recorded Who Needs Enemies, and in 1987 the compilation album With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends? They joined with fellow experimental musicians John French, and English folk-rocker Richard Thompson to form French Frith Kaiser Thompson for two eclectic albums, Live, Love, Larf & Loaf (1987) and Invisible Means (1990). In 1999 Frith and Kaiser released Friends and Enemies, a compilation of some of their earlier work together with new recordings.
In 1991, Kaiser went to Madagascar with fellow guitarist David Lindley, where they spent two weeks recording roots music with Malagasy musicians and discovered music that, he says, "changed us radically and permanently". Three volumes of this music were released by Shanachie under the title A World Out of Time. In 1994 he made a similar trip to Norway, again with Lindley, recording music that was released as Sweet Sunny North (2 volumes, 1994 and 1996).
Since 1998, Kaiser has been collaborating with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith in the "Yo Miles!" project, releasing a series of tributes to Miles Davis's 1970s electric music. This shifting aggregation has included musicians from the worlds of rock (guitarists Nels Cline, Mike Keneally and Chris Muir, drummer Steve Smith), jazz (saxophonists Greg Osby and John Tchicai), avant-garde (keyboardist John Medeski, guitarist Elliott Sharp), and Indian classical music (tabla player Zakir Hussain).
Kaiser has appeared on more than 250 albums and scored dozens of TV shows and films, including Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World (2007). He was awarded a Grammy for his work on the Beautiful Dreamer tribute to Stephen Foster.
In 2001, Kaiser spent two and a half months in Antarctica on a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program grant. He has subsequently returned for nine more deployments to work as a research diver. His underwater camerawork was featured in two Herzog films, The Wild Blue Yonder (2005) and Encounters at the End of the World (2007), which he also produced, and for which he and Lindley composed the score. Kaiser served as music producer for Herzog's Grizzly Man (2005). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work as a producer on Encounters at the End of the World.
Instruments and effects
Kaiser "has amassed an immense collection of guitars, amplifiers, and effect pedals" to achieve "sonic diversity". A favorite of his is a Klein electric with Alembic pickups (his favorites), which he uses when traveling. He owns a Dumble. He has been looping since at least 1984 (It's a Wonderful Life), initially with an MXR digital delay, and later with Lexicon equipment—he sets modulation rates to "either heart or breathing rate, because those are natural healing rhythm rates". He often uses two delays to provide three different voices. He is also an avid user of a large number of effects pedals, especially fuzzes.
- 1979 : Outside Pleasure (Metalanguage)
- 1979 : With Friends Like These with Fred Frith
- 1981 : Aloha (Metalanguage)
- 1981 : It's a Wonderful Life (Metalanguage)
- 1983 : Who Needs Enemies? with Fred Frith
- 1984 : Invite the Spirit (Tzadik Records) with Sang-Won Park and Charles K. Noyes
- 1987 : With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends? with Fred Frith
- 1987 : Devil in the Drain (SST Records)
- 1987 : Live, Love, Larf & Loaf (Rhino Records) with French Frith Kaiser Thompson
- 1989 : Popular Science (Rykodisc) with Sergey Kuryokhin
- 1989 : Those Who Know History Are Doomed to Repeat It (SST Records)
- 1990 : Invisible Means (Windham Hill Records) with French Frith Kaiser Thompson
- 1990 : Re-Marrying For Money (SST Records)
- 1990 : Heart's Desire (Reckless Records)
- 1991 : Hope You Like Our New Direction (Reckless Records)
- 1991 : Tomorrow Knows Where You Live (Victo) with Jim O'Rourke
- 1991 : A World Out of Time (Shanachie Records) with David Lindley in Madagascar
- 1992 : Lemon Fish Tweezer (Cuneiform Records)
- 1993 : Acoustics (Victo) with Mari Kimura, Jim O'Rourke and John Oswald
- 1994 : The Five Heavenly Truths (FOT Records)
- 1994 : The Sweet Sunny North (Shanachie Records) with David Lindley in Norway
- 1994 : Wireforks (Shanachie Records) with Derek Bailey
- 1995 : Eternity Blue (Shanachie Records)
- 1999 : Passwords (Spool) with Paul Plimley and Danlielle DeGruttola
- 2005 : Domo Arigato Derek-Sensei! (Balance Point Acoustics)
- 2006 : Invite The Spirit 2006 (Tzadik Records) with Sang-Won Park and Charles K. Noyes
- 2010 : A Little Stroke Of Light - Live Solo Guitar (official cd-r)
- 2012 : Kamüra (ZaDiscs) with Randy Raine-Reusch and Torsten Mueller
- 2012 : Nikola Tesla High School (H(i)nds(i)ght) with Killick Erik Hinds
- 2013 : Requia and Other Improvisations for Guitar Solo (Tzadik)
- Contributing artist
- The Henry Kaiser Collection
- Psychedelic Guitar Circus collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Kaiser Plays Dead (Unreleased)
- Yo Miles! collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Sketches of Miles with Henry Kaiser - The Music Box, July 2004, Vol. 11, #7
- Kronosonic interview with Henry Kaiser