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SYR 4: Goodbye 20th Century [Enhanced]

Sonic Youth Audio CD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Price: $16.87 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 1999 $13.99  
Audio CD, Enhanced, 1999 $16.87  
Vinyl, 1999 $20.98  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Edges16:03Album Only
listen  2. Six (3rd Take) 3:03$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Six For New Time 8:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. plus minus 7:01$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Voice Piece For Soprano0:17$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Pendulum Music 5:53$0.89  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Having Never Written a Note for Percussion 9:09$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Six (4th Take) 2:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Burdocks13:12Album Only
listen  4. Four (6)30:01Album Only
listen  5. Piano Piece #13 (Carpenter's Piece) 3:58$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Piece Enfantine 1:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Treatise 3:27$0.89  Buy MP3 

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Sonic Youth - "Sacred Trixter"


sonic youth the eternal

The Eternal is Sonic Youth’s 2009 celebration of newfound freedom. After many years signed to an ever precarious corporate label, the band has been liberated and is releasing this CD with their friends at Matador. Inspirations ran high in preparation for the recording. Abandoning the time tested routine of writing and rehearsing a cycle of songs in one time ... Read more in Amazon's Sonic Youth Store

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Frequently Bought Together

SYR 4: Goodbye 20th Century + Invito Al Cielo + Syr 5
Price for all three: $36.85

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  • Invito Al Cielo $10.99
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: SYR
  • ASIN: B00002R0NC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,886 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wildly influential four-piece Sonic Youth have self-released their version of a tribute to the 20th century: two discs of noisy interpretations of modern, experimental classical scores. The group has chosen composers whose works leave a great amount of innovation open to the performer. This chance-embracing approach--typified and in some senses originated by John Cage--is one of the crucial turning points of "new" music. What's great about this CD is that it demonstrates the freewheeling, decidedly unserious spirit behind this music, essentially combining the legacies of punk rock and out-sound. In addition to three late works by the chance-loving Cage, there are pieces by current Merce Cunningham collaborator Takehisa Kosugi, minimalist giant Steve Reich, "deep-listening" drone lover Pauline Oliveros, and Fluxus founder George Maciunas. Longtime collaborator Wharton Tiers, the young everything-ist Jim O'Rourke, and even some of the composers themselves join in on these exercises. The result is messy, fun, and anarchic, with occasional revelations (notably James Tenney's "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion"). It's not a disc to play all the time, but it is a challenging, enthused record that ideally will point listeners toward some of the most vital music of the last half of the last decade of the second millennium. --Mike McGonigal

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sy's exclamation point for the millenium November 16, 1999
Format:Audio CD
fascinating... it's a look forward and backward. it reminds me a lot of the spaciousness of sound that the band achieved with bad moon rising, although a lot less disciplined.
i remember seeing a clip on vh1 once with lee ranaldo talking about city sounds and how he loved to open his window and listen to the rhythms of everyday street noises. this album captures it beautifully, with its random occurences of guitar squawks, cymbal crashes, and syllables.
although i have already dismissed some of the songs (the nascent "edges" among them), i have a feeling that this one pays off on each successive listen. "pendulum music" and "six for new time" are damn near highpoints of sy's career- it's the kind of pretention that they have always reached for. this time it works better in execution than theory.
if this is their millenial exit, i can't wait to see what they're going to come up with for an entrance.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hello 21st Century. February 20, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
To the fellow who's review contained this statement: "In any event, it would seem laughable that anyone could draw any connection between Sonic Youth's interpretations and original works (in any category of music)." I would have to totally disagree with you here. Having heard the works of John Cage, Christian Wolf, James Tenney, Cornelius Cardew and Steve Reich there is a connection by SY's interpretations. Connecting these intrepretations to the original (if there is such) is not the intention here, yet you cannot disregard the ideas of the composers. Eventhough these pieces incorporate improvising, most of the works are composed and are documented as such and SY used the 'scores' as they were guidelines (i.e. Cornelius Cardew's 'Treatise' is a 193 page graphic score). There are obvious references to the composer's intentions in these interpretations, that is if you listen closely and if you've heard their works before. Yet it isn't necessary to be aquainted with them. Laughable? i think not...The original composer's intentions of these works are not entirely "serious" or "high-brow avant-gardisms", for instance John Cage did many things to break that down (i.e. his silent piece 4'33") and i think Sonic Youth here have continued in that idea.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathing room. December 5, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I have collected most of Sonic Youth's albums over the years, and this is presently my favorite. Featuring music composed by the likes of John Cage and Takehisa Kosugi as well as Yoko Ono and Steve Reich, the long tracks massage and spark. Unlike the usually in-your-face brashness that makes sonic youth sonic youth, this album features wide spaces of repetitive sounds that layer, merge and then gradually taper away. This is truly an innovative album, unlike any other from Sonic Youth. Few vocals except for Kim Gordon's occasional spoken (shouted?) word. I love it and haven't taken it off the turntable since I got it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye 20th Century January 2, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Perhaps one of the riskiest works by Sonic Youth lately, the efforts behind "Goodbye 20th Century" have paid off well. Nonetheless, there are a few mishaps.
John Cage's "Four6", lasting over 30 minutes, is severely short on focus, and the result of its rambling feel is quite dull. The same can be said for Christian Wolff's "Burdocks"
"Six For New Time," written for the project, is the closest thing to a rock song on the album. Incidentally, it is the album highlight, and for that matter, one of the better recordings ever put out by Sonic Youth. "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion" is another outstanding track, with complex layers and an expert use of dynamics employed to create a dreamy and completely enrapturing feel.
Takehisa Kosugi's "+-" will probably take a few listenings to be appreciated, but is nonetheless an oustanding example of how dense layers of instrumentation, mixed with scathing white noise and a loose feel successfully work to create an atmosphere that just can't be achieved through any stardard rock strucuture.
Appropriately titled, "Goodbye 20th Century" is a must have for fans of the SYR series. While its avant-garde stylings may not be appreciated by all, it is one of the most fascinating albums ever released by this band.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The "other"Sonic Youth December 3, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
It's funny, I recall how six years ago I thought Sonic Youth was just "this cool skate-punk band" when I purchased "Dirty." Little did I know that they would later have more in common with Sun Ra and Stockhausen than Reagan Youth.
I have to argue that SYR 4 is perhaps their most surreal and ear-baffling work to date. On most of its tracks, their trademark ecstatic-alien guitar noise makes more sense as electro-aucostic pieces and even folk music for our bewildered information age. Examplary tracks are the John Cage covers and "Never Played a Note for Percussion."
While it does have its misfires(the room-clearing Reich cover and "Edges"-nearly summarizes what many people love to hate about avant-garde music,)overall, I have to say that this album will be closely studied and appreicated for quite some time...much longer than the Warped tour.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Eric Ruffing
2.0 out of 5 stars a tribute with poor feedbacks
The best thing with this product is undoubtly the names to whom it is contributed. One should really sincerely appreciate the good taste of SY to lift up and include such grand... Read more
Published on April 14, 2006 by J. Gustavson
5.0 out of 5 stars Classical avant-garde experimentalism from.....a rock band?
It's hard to believe, but it's true.

The 4th CD in the SYR experimental series (titled Goodbye 20th Century, appropriatly) of Sonic Youth Records, is a fantastic double... Read more
Published on November 20, 2004 by Ben Butkowski
4.0 out of 5 stars Can you guess what it is yet?
Well this is one Sonic Youth's more experimental releases ( if you hadn't gathered by now ) and it's fair to say that this is a challenging listen. Read more
Published on June 11, 2004 by filterite
1.0 out of 5 stars lost me as a fan
i used to love sy. during the washing machine tour they played the academy friday night, saturday afternoon for matinee and saturday night. i was at all three shows. Read more
Published on March 10, 2003 by Daniel J. Hagerman
4.0 out of 5 stars wading around in a pool of slow, simmering brains...
A very bizarre, unconvential, punkish, release from Sonic Youth which is both one of their most trippy but in a different way from previous releases... Read more
Published on April 19, 2002 by S. R Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Far above anything else of Sonic Youth
This is a brilliant tribute to some of the most important musicians of the last century, made in a way that only a successful pop outfit could manage. Read more
Published on March 9, 2002 by Robert Davidson
4.0 out of 5 stars hello 21st
why should you own this album is the question to be asked here. If you come to SY from the grunge years(goo and especially dirty) then forget it. Read more
Published on March 2, 2002 by Kev
1.0 out of 5 stars No Focus
Sonic Youth has, of course, always pushed the envelope for music in terms of structure, tonality, and harmony. (Dissonance can, after all, be beautiful. Read more
Published on December 15, 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars chaos is the future
Like most others, even as a long time fan, I was quite blown away by this, it being the 1st time I'd really questioned waht my heroes were doing. Read more
Published on February 4, 2000 by Funkmeister G
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