David First has always been fascinated by opposites and extremes.
At 20 he played guitar with renowned avant-jazz pianist Cecil Taylor in a legendary Carnegie Hall concert. Two years later he was creating electronic music as an artist-in-residence at Princeton (released in 2013 on Dais records) and leading a Mummerʼs String Band in Philadelphia parades.
He has played in raucous drunken bar bands, semi-legal DIY basements and in pin-drop quiet concert halls with classical ensembles. As a composer First has created everything from finely crafted pop songs to long, severely minimalist droneworks. His opera, The Manhattan Book of the Dead, was staged at LaMama’s Annex Theater (NYC) in 1995 and in Potsdam, Germany in 1996.
His 2011 song, We Are (featuring TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone), was released to much acclaim in the Occupy Movement and was officially released on the compilation Occupy This Album which also featured tracks by Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Yoko Ono a.o. First’s performances often find him sitting trance-like without seeming to move a muscle, unless he is playing with his psychedelic punk band, Notekillers, at which time he is a whirling blur of hyperactive energy.
He has been called “a fascinating artist with a singular technique.” in the NYTimes, and “a bizarre cross between Hendrix and La Monte Young.” in the Village Voice. First’s other ongoing projects include trance-noise duo bl0odoolo0ps with Notekillers drummer Barry Halkin and SWATi—a collaboration with acupuncturist Isobeau Trybula. Recent releases include a series of solo LPs on various instruments entitled Same Animal, Different Cages (Fabrica records), and an archival CD of his legendary late-80s ensemble, The World Casio Quartet (Pogus).