Posted by Raz Mesinai

In this unfortunate time we grieve the loss of a great producer and mentor for many, Hal Wilner, who sadly has passed due to complications of Covid-19 on April 6th, 2020. This is an enormous loss for the NYC music scene, underground included, we hope that his records and his reach as an innovator of an art form that has no text book will continue to resonate and fill homes with music, from Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Marianne Faithfull and more, his work as a master producer and an advocate for musicians will live on. We will update this post with more words about Hal as they come in, for now here are some from the past and from today.

From musician/producer Dougie Bowne:

“I used to joke about Hal, ‘he was my favorite kind of producer – he’d hire the right musicians and leave them the hell alone while they worked shit out.’ The joke, as they all must, wrapped itself around some truth, but what Hal did was make great art. The mysterious methods that were his and his alone might have looked like luck, accident, or sorcery, as if they weren’t being directed, but of course they were. He made great shit happen over and over and over again, putting together wildly important shows, producing beautiful meaningful albums, introducing people to each other and of us to ideas, humor and beauty, and that takes some doing, it isn’t easy though he made it look like it was. He was an artist by any measure you might want to call up into play for deciding who to call by that name. And his lovably grumpy sarcasm could never conceal the fact that he loved more stuff – more musics, more TV shows, more films, more poems, more people, more everything than just about anyone I ever met, and I love him.”

Lou Reed stated in Digital Journal “Willner’s talent for recognizing artistically interesting combinations is one originating in his youth. ‘I grew up at the tail-end of where that was very normal,’ the 57 year-old producer says, ‘you know, let’s call it music-as-vaudeville, when records became an art form in the same way literature, and art, and movies were, and the variety shows on TV: you had Dr. John next to Miles Davis next to Buffalo Springfield.'”

Rest in peace Hal Wilner.



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