INTO THE Out World

AS Thurston Moore stepped onto the narrow stage at Philadelphia’s Boot & Saddle last December, it wasn’t exactly clear how many people in the audience knew what they were in for. A large percentage of the crowd was likely most familiar with Moore from his three-decade tenure with the influential avant-rock band Sonic Youth, which came to a close in 2011 after the dissolution of his marriage to co-founder Kim Gordon. Those who’d paid closer attention to the guitarist’s extracurricular activities over the years may have known that his solo excursions often tended toward the noisy and abstract—ear-punishing maelstroms conjured alone or in collaboration with the likes of Mats Gustafsson, Elliott Sharp, William Hooker, or Evan Parker.

For this performance, though, something else entirely was planned. The set consisted solely of a pair of extended compositions from Moore’s latest album, Spirit Counsel. Stretching from 30 minutes to over an hour in length, each of the box set’s trio of disc-length pieces was penned in dedication to a formative influence from the more avant-garde side of the guitarist’s musical obsessions.

“Alice Moki Jayne,” the longest and most mesmerizing of the three, is named for Alice Coltrane, Moki Cherry, and Jayne Cortez—all artists in their own right who were often overshadowed by their iconic jazz husbands (John Coltrane, Don Cherry, and Ornette Coleman). “8 Spring Street” is a hypnotic solo outing that pays tribute to composer Glenn Branca, whose guitar orchestras provided Moore with some of his earliest gigs in New York City. The final track, “Galaxies (Sky),” revisits the roar of those ensembles with twelve 12-string electric guitars, though the piece itself was inspired by a poem written by Sun Ra.

If Moore’s recent audiences have been surprised when confronted by an hour-long, slowly evolving composition harking

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