What people have said about our first issue
(Reviews of Issue 2, Issue 3, Issue 4)
—"Ill zine of the Month"
In an underground sticky with armchair music critics whose chief activity is swapping facts from CD liner notes, Halana's creators take an organic route and end up with a winner. Issue One forgoes trivial babble and looks deeply into the emotional qualities of several contemporary "out there" composers and their work. Among the highlights: Minimalist artisans La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela discuss their craft in an epic 20-page interview; reclusive guitar improvisor Loren MazzaCane Connors contributes a telling autobiography to the 'zine and a b-side to its accompanying single; prolific free-jazz pianist Matthew Shipp pens a tour guide/philosophical treatise and lays down a mind-throttling solo track on a single's a-side. Those of you more affected by a performer's soul than his/her ability to hit picked semiquavers would do well to investigate these nooks.—Aaron Burgess
—"On the edge"
...also good for your eyes and ears... are Yakuza, an eccentric but engrossing indie sounds and travel zine supplemented by a 14-track CD, and the debut issue of Halana, which devotes its contents - including a 7-inch 45 - to minimalism, in particular the words and music of the movements patriarch La Monte Young, free jazz pianist Matthew Shipp and abstract guitar maverick Loren MazzaCane Connors....—David Fricke
Philadelphia City Paper
Halana is a new Ardmore-based 'zine dedicated to experimental / improvisational music in its various forms. Look for interviews with La Monte Young and Marina Zazeela, Matthew Shipp's tour diary (while he was on tour with David S. Ware), as well as articles on Harry Bertoia and Loren Mazzacane Connors. Included with this debut issue is a 7" featuring Shipp's jazzy piano on one side and Connor's Far-Eastern guitar-stylings on the other. Halana is a lot cheaper than magic mushrooms and often just as mind-expanding.—Neil Gladstone
(Number 34, Fall 1996)
I don't know how often magazines like Halana wash ashore, but it's wonderful when a beachcomber like myself can find a copy of the first issue. I picked this up because of a Matthew Shipp solo 7" but found myself just as interested in the interviews with Loren Mazzacane Connors and La Monte Young. A lack of familiarity with the music of these artists won't hamper a reader as the content is philosophical and spiritual rather than historical or descriptive. Halana exists on a plane which suggests both the spectre of Cage and the presence of Indian philosophy. Alan Licht's enclosed list of ten crucial minimalist recordings is as unattainable as Thurston Moore's legendary free jazz picks but it is as close as this magazine is likely to get to a level where possession is even thinkable.—Jeffrey Herrmann
Time Out New York
Chris Rice's 'zine pokes around the "spiritual" side of several avant sound sculptors, so you can bet there's both cliche and insight. Oddly, pianist Matthew Shipp's "Tour Diary Excerpts" don't tell you much about what he saw abroad, which would probably go unnoticed if the enclosed interview with pioneer La Monte Young and his wife, Marian Zazeela, didn't put some of the same lofty ideas in less lofty terms. Shipp redeems himself on "Spinal Syntax," the gorgeous piano solo that graces a side of the accompanying seven-inch. So does guitarist-interviewee Loren MazzaCane Connors. And Run-On axe-hand Alan Licht's guide to minimalist music is a must-saver.—K. Leander Williams
Halana's mission comes off too arty; it is "dedicated to the glorification of music… that elevates its participants above the mundanity of the everyday." It delivers the goods, though, and is quite worth your time. Most interesting is the massive interview with La Monte Young (and musical partner Marian Zazeela). The chatty piece covers his entire career and leaves few questions unanswered. An accompanying single features Matthew Shipp, Loren MazzaCane, and Val Bertoia, all of whom are also examined in the magazine. MazzaCane and Shipp are well represented in musical output, but it is interesting to hear Bertoia play the sounding sculptures that his father, Harry Bertoia, constructed. His approach is considerably more aggressive than that which .is documented on the deceased Bertoia's self-released LPs.—Patrick Marley
Halana gets this issue's "best zine" award (if such a thing existed) without too much difficulty. A few reviews close out the important contents: tour diary excerpts from Matthew Shipp; an article on and by Loren MazzaCane Connors; an appreciation of sound-sculptor Harry Bertoia; a lengthy interview with Marian Zazeela and La Monte Young; and a top ten obscure minimalist albums by the always knowledgeable Alan Licht. Clear, articulate and inspiring. Includes a free 7" single featuring MazzaCane Connors (in excellent form), Shipp, and two Bertoia lock-grooves.&mdash'Brian Duguid
And similarly adding handsomely to the sum of universal knowledge is a new magazine called Halana - or at least it was new when I first saw it; by the time you read this the second issue will hopefully have appeared. Printed on virgin paper and perfect bound in buff card sleeve, this impressive A4 'zine covers the minimalist improvisational end of things in a suitably open minded style and with an equally open-ended layout. Beautifully written and peppered with a few carefully chosen photographs and old world/other world graphics, this is one of those magazines you'll want to store away for future reference and enjoy returning to time and time again. Issue 1 features La Monte Young, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Matthew Shipp and some particularly fine articles by Alan Licht, and I'm told issue 2 will feature a Keiji Haino extravaganza.—Phil McMullen
We were surprised to see this appear in our mail bin, mainly because we never realized that lurking in this quiet Philly suburb were people who cared about this kind of experimental music. I thought Halana was pretty impressive, especially for a first issue. Featured within are interviews with guitarist Loren MazzaCane Connors, composers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, excerpts from a tour diary by pianist Matthew Shipp and a piece about Harry Bertoia (I can't really sum up what he did in a word.) Pretty heady stuff. This also comes with a 7" featuring works by Connors, Shipp and Bertoia's son Val.—Leslie Goldman
What people have said about our second issue
(Reviews of Issue 1, Issue 3, Issue 4)
Where most serious 'zines are gravity defying in their density of their layouts and texts, Halana achieves a nigh perfect balance of content, cover art and high production values. At once airy and earthy, it provides a fine forum for its six cover stars—Alan Lamb, Tony Conrad, Patty Waters, Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, and Keiji Haino, all of them offering exclusive material on the excellent accompanying CD—to discuss, either in essay form of Q&A interviews, the complex of stimulating ideas behind their various, in Oliveros' useful phrase, deep listening music. Admittedly, there are not many laughs to be had here, but the Haino revelation, "That's why I don't like sing-alongs", is priceless.—Biba Kopf
CMJ New Music Report
With it's second issue, Chris Rice's experimental music 'zine Halana goes from good to great. The highlight is a mindbending interview with Keiji Haino, in which he talks about how before each show, he breathes in all the air in the performance space and engulfs the audience in it thereby becoming God, but he's forgiven for his blasphemy by returning the air to its original state afterwards...there are also enlightening conversations with ESP-Disk vocalist supreme Patty Waters and Deep Listening composer Pauline Oliveros, as well as a history of the Dream Syndicate—the 60's experimental drone group, not the 80's band—by it's co-founder Tony Conrad. The accompanying CD is a treat, as well, with long pieces by Haino (playing hurdy-gurdy), Oliveros (about the freakiest, angriest, most abrasive piece we've ever heard from her) and Conrad, as well as William Parker, yanking every imaginable sound out of his bass's strings, and Australian composer Alan Lamb, working the Faraway Wind Organ, which is constructed out of telephone wires and played with the assistance of the wind.—Douglas Wolk
CMJ New Music Monthly
After only two issues, Halana is quickly becoming the best print source for discovering experimental sound crafters. The debut featured a revealing Matthew Shipp tour diary, a questionless interview with Loren MazzaCane Connors and a seven-inch snapshot of their experiments on piano and guitar, respectively. The latest issue is bigger, and the sound accompaniment is also longer, with a CD featuring a bit of Tony Conrad's violin minimalism, one of Alan Lamb's textural high-wire recordings, a mesmerizing William Parker solo bass piece, Keiji Haino's meandering hurdy-gurdy, and Pauline Oliveros' skillful accordion sounds. Editor Chris Rice provides loving textural accompaniment to the resulting cacophony, leading his subjects to interesting topics. Legends with years of stories, like Conrad, rattle on about historical sound manipulators such as John Cage and La Monte Young. Oliveros discusses listening to breathing techniques and hummingbirds, and Lamb's story of his initial discovery of the music of Scottish electrical wires is enthralling. The CD comes in handy as music-to-read-a-zine-by, though this one succeeds on its greater goal of getting readers outside and exploring other natural sound phenomena.—Tom Roe
The academic pretense of Halana may discourage the reader from whole-heartedly embracing it, but it includes so much useful information that it is not to be missed. Interviews with Alan Lamb, William Parker, Pauline Oliveros and Patty Waters merit a casual read, but the most compelling .in issue #2 is the mammoth interview with Keiji Haino, which solidly covers his career and ideas, without dispelling the mystery surrounding him (his avid appreciation of Jim Morrison simultaneously causes befuddlement and makes perfect sense). The issue also includes a reprint of Tony Conrad's Four Violins liners, which are more readable in this format and are accompanied by photos of Conrad from the 60's. Usually CD samplers that come with magazines work clumsily, but because similar strain (read: drone) that runs through the work of the artists featured in Halana, this CD flows with a gentle, relaxing throb.—Patrick Marley
What people have said about our third issue
(Reviews of Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 4)
Where many modern experimental music 'zines have adopted a hyper-analytical approach that dulls the spirit of both the artist and the art, Halana has focused on topics such as emotion, drive and creative evolution. It has also downplayed the role of the critic, often letting the artists draft stories whose quirks express their motives better than a journalist's interjections could. Issue three turns over the pen to Amiri Baraka, John Fahey, David Grubbs, Alan Licht and Charlemagne Palestine, chats with Motoharu Yoshizawa, and removes the writer's voice from a Bernhard Günter interview. The accompanying CD features rare tracks from all of the aforementioned.—Dave Thompson
Chris Rice's journal dedicated to challenging music encompasses Gastr Del Sol's David Grubbs reminiscing about GG Allin concerts, electroacoustic composer Bernhard Günter describing his work, Amiri Baraka's historical materialist reading of rhythm, PSF improv bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa (RIP), Charlemagne Palestine's comeback letter, Run On guitarist Alan Licht's fave obscure records, and John Fahey rambling about Bukka White. Plus a CD featuring some of the above.—Peter Shapiro
Chris Rice (the editor of Halana) changed my whole out look on music. I was in high school and I had just discovered sonic youth and college radio. Every other Tuesday night Chris did a show on WVUD, "the voice of the University of Delaware." What spewed forth through the stratosphere via FM radio waves was this other-worldly extremely beautiful, sometimes extremely harsh music. My bro J and I would get out our Forced Exposure catalog and pick out the most far out shit. Chris would know exactly what we were talking about. We taped his and his cohort Allison's show religiously for two years. His show introduced me to all sorts of strange and wonderful music that my older hippie dippy brother and sister never would. Chris moved on to put out the exceptional music publication Halana. He has also put out a seven-inch and two CDs with his exceptional mag. The latest CD contains people from a wide variety of backgrounds but are all committed to exploring new forms of music. Bernhard Günter's piece is so subtle I thought the CD manufacturer fucked up. Charlemagne Palestine's piece is almost a single tone with slight variations. John Fahey (who is spitting image of old saint nick) plays a detuned guitar. When he opened up for T. Moore last year he played a piece very similar to this. The audience at first thought he was returning his guitar but it went on for ten-min or so. There is also music from David Grubbs, Motoharu Yoshizawa, and Alan Licht. Words tend to fail when trying to describe such awesome beauty. Now that I am up in good old bean town when I get home sick, or just a hankering for a good cheese steak I can put this on and pretend that I am listening to Mr. C Rice on the voice of the university of Delaware.—Daniel K Cohoon
Beautiful and mysterious is the world of sound in which Halana floats. Halana is as unique as any publication in print today. The sights, sounds, words, and musings of the avant-garde and ethereal-inclined are captured and perfect bound by editor Chris Rice and a select group of contributors. Artists featured in Halana contribute their sounds to CDs or singles that accompany each issue, a symbiotic arrangement that increases the likelihood of comprehension and appreciation of both article and music. The design's minimalist overtones and the intriguing photography soothe the eyes. God Bless white space and clean lines. David Grubbs, John Fahey, Alan Licht and others grace this issue with their words and the disc with their music.—Steve Brydges
This is a wonderful magazine. If you haven't seen it already, then seek it out. One of the few I'll (eventually) read cover to cover. This issue features Amiri Baraka, John Fahey, David Grubbs, Bernhard Günter, Alan Licht, Charlemagne Palestine and Motoharu Yoshizawa. Most of the articles are by the artists themselves, something rarely seen and which I hope they continue to do. And then, there's the CD included, which lets the music speak for itself. Günter scratches-on-glass quiet and Palestine's linear hypnotism are highlights. Much of the rest seems a bit indulgent, but perhaps it's just my mood. At any rate, there's something a bit lonely about the solo nature of all these artists. If Halana can keep this kind of quality in future issues, it will be a lovely thing to look forward to.—Seth Nehil
What people have said about our fourth issue
(Reviews of Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3)
Everything about this arty American New Music zine squeals quality, from its ridged cardboard, metallic-inked cover and enduring paper-stock, to the hefty price tag. But your bucks include a CD with tracks by Rafael Toral, Sun City Girls founder Richard Bishop, id battery, Motoharu Yoshizawa, plus a piece by David Tudor and more—all of which feature in the mag. Opening with a brilliant, often scary travelogue by Richard Bishop (from spontaneous busking sessions in Morocco to self-induced vomiting in Calcutta), we get a long and fairly boring Joe Maneri Q&A; a piece 'on' Portuguese guitarist Rafael Toral (just a monologue distilled from a long e-mail correspondence); memoirs of Yoshizawa and Tudor from various acquaintances, preciously poetic notes on location recording from id battery's Loren Chasse; and endless split columns of CD reviews. But the real gem here is the feature on little known American renaissance man (and pretender to Harry Smith's crown in the realm of eccentric sonic research) Ralph Haxton, who has had at least three groups including California's rhBand, named after him.—Rob Young
I hope I am not insulting all editors of magazines that I always receive and never review by reviewing this one. Halana is sort of special for me. Not just because of the CD (that too!), but also for it's editorial policy: not just a stapled bunch of interviews and reviews, but also (and I have the idea it's happening more and more) artists who write whatever they do in a sometimes arty, sometimes down to earth, sometimes philosophical way. They cover the more 'spiritual' musics. On the CD they feature six artists who are also in the magazine and I will write something on them. Rafael Toral is not just a meister of drones, but can do his portion of improv plucking on the guitar. Richard Bishop does the same (I'm moving into muddy territory here!) but then on an acoustic guitar. The musique concrete part of today comes from IdBattery, who rumble about with stones, sticks, leaves and other naturalia. Certainly a strange piece is by one Ralph Haxton (the article on him my eyebrow go up: does this guy really exist?) which is funny mixture of 'found objects (typewriter??), organ tones, guitars and prototype McNaughton sound board' - ever since The Hafler Trio I get suspicious every now and then, and this one of those occasions. The late Motoharu Yoshizawa provides a beautiful solo improv bass piece in which plucking and bowing go together. The last piece is a composition by David Tudor (also the late) on his Neural Network - and is more noisy then you would expect if you know his piano playing. Bravo, another well done issue, well done music, so onwards to issue 5.—Frans de Waard
Invisible City Productions
WINNER : Invisible City Good Citizenship Award : December 1999
If you’ve read the Statement of Intent that comes with this website, you already know that I consider the metaphor of the Invisible City to mean a network that brings creative individuals together to communicate and cross-pollinate—particularly individuals whose work (complicated / ambiguous / challenging / otherwise uncommercial) might remain unnoticed in the absence of that network. The work, of course, is being done in every medium—out there are zines, comics, pirate TV, websites, you name it.
There is an entire world of invisible musicians out there. Most of you zinesters probably know that the punk scene is still active everywhere, but the invisible music scene goes much deeper. There are artists out there who work solely to create subtly-mutating drones or latticeworks of electronic pulsation; artists who coax beauty from unorthodox (sometimes self-invented) instruments such as the Faraway Wind Organ (an "instrument" consisting of a half-mile of telegraph wires keening in the wind); artists devoted to using everyday objects (an oven tray, a Bible) for their neglected instrumental potential; artists who dig up and archive sounds that might otherwise have been lost (pre-WWII gospel songs, or the music that accompanies kiddie rides or ice cream trucks, or field recordings of Vietnamese street musicians); artists of every conceivable stripe who inhabit and color a world that is just out of normal sight.
I hope, in the future, to use this site to document the work of some of these artists (and the brave little record labels and stores that support them), but stellar work on that task can be found within the pages of Halana, a dense magazine edited by Chris Rice. Beautifully-printed (where do you get your printing done, Chris?) and absolutely packed with valuable information, Halana is a must-have for anyone interested in exploring the new terrain being uncovered and mapped by contemporary soundworkers.
This issue contains an interview with jazzmen Joe and Matt Maneri, excerpts from an e-mail correspondence with Rafael Toral, reflections on the passing of Japanese bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, a piece written by Loren Chasse of idBattery on collecting sounds from an abandoned urban area, an overview of some of the career of (John Cage collaborator) David Tudor, and Richard Bishop writing on some of his explorations in North Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and India (this piece—which contains both interesting information about Thugee cults and human sacrifice, and strange narratives about playing guitar in an urban hive in Cairo and investigating a forbidden Indian cremation site—is worth a read even if you don’t care one whit about modern music).
Maybe you haven’t heard of any of these people—for the most part, neither have I—but that’s part of the joy: there’s a true excitement in becoming acquainted with the work of an utterly fascinating person who you’ve never been aware of before. Of course, if you are familiar with these artists, then the interviews and writings provide a welcome additional context. All of this makes Halana an excellent node, of significant value to either newcomers and the old guard. As if to drive home this point, the magazine comes with a full-length CD that includes unreleased tracks by many of the artists covered in this issue.
Halana is that best of things: a labor of love. This is apparent from the outset: every facet of the magazine reveals Mr. Rice’s enviable attention to detail and his honest dedication towards documenting an invisible that he feels passionately towards. He is using his magazine to build networks, and he is building them well—may a thousand gods smile upon his efforts.—Jeremy P. Bushnell
(Reviews of Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3, Issue 4)