ListN Up: Norman W. Long (December 17, 2021)

ListN Up is a weekly series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Norman W. Long’s practice involves walking, listening, improvising, performing, recording, and composing to create environments and situations in which he and the audience are engaged in dialogues about memory space, value, silence, and the invisible. Norman Long has performed and exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center, Experimental Sound Studio, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Links Hall, Elastic Arts, Ignition Project Space, Chicago Artist’s Coalition BOLT gallery, Compound Yellow, Green Line Performing Arts Center, Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, and 2017 PRIZM Art Fair (Miami). Norman performed and toured with Angel Bat Dawid and the Brothahood and has performed with Damon Locks, Standing On the Corner, Cher Jey, Sara Zalek, Cristal Sabbagh, Dan Bitney and Todd Carter. Norman has received 3Arts Award for Visual Art in 2011, 3Arts Djerassi (Woodside, CA) Artists Residency Fellowship in 2014, BOLT Artist in Residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition in 2014-2015, 3Arts Fellowship for AS220 (Providence, RI) 2017 Artist in Residence program, Three Walls RaD Lab and Outside the walls Fellow for 2017-2019 and Guest Composer at EMS Elektronmusikstudion, Stockholm, Sweden made possible in part by the City of Chicago’s DCASE grant. Norman was named one of Chicago’s top 50 artists by New City Chicago in 2020.

Hello! My name is Norman W. Long. I’m an artist, composer, and improviser based in Chicago, Illinois. This playlist shows the roots of my practice. All these pieces were inspirational to how I listen, compose, and improvise. Thank you for listening. 

Can You Feel It by Mr. Fingers

This normalized Black people playing electronic music for me while I was in middle school. What was significant was the ubiquity of this track on the Friday and Saturday night mixes on WBMX, WGCI and WKKC. This was also part of the evening soundscape in my neighborhood and many neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago.

Promises Kept by Sonny Sharrock

This piece opened up the sonic possibilities of what I thought “jazz” was. This tape introduced an isolated high school senior to Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones, and Sonny Sharrock.

Lightning & Thunder by Morwell Unlimited Meet King Tubby

The first dub track track that got me hooked. It would be 8 years until I started processing my own field recordings that could be comparable to this particular piece.

Behemoth Dreams by Anthony Braxton and Richard Teitelbaum

Behemoth Dreams showed me that it was possible for me to expand my solo practice of integrating analog synths with my field recording compositions to improvising with traditional musicians.

Saturday September 23, 2017 by Norman W. Long featuring Angel Bat Dawid

This was the first time Angel and I played as a duo.

Arthesis by Éliane Radigue

Laetitia Sonami had introduced me to Éliane Radigue’s work when I was a grad assistant for her. This piece, at that time, challenged and rewarded my patience and attention span.

Aria by Taku Sugimoto, performed by Tetuzi Akiyama, Otomo Yoshihide, Taku Sugimoto, and Toshimaru Nakamura

This piece transformed my listening and practice as a sound artist and performer. I was not so much interested in comparing this to Cage, but how this was counter to the art and music culture of the Bay Area at the time.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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